McConnell Introduces Short-Term Spending Bill to Avoid Shutdown
'It will ensure continuous funding for the federal government'
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a short-term spending bill on Wednesday to push back a government shutdown until Feb. 8, 2019.
Congress was on a course for a shutdown with the deadline to fund the government on December 21. Lawmakers were able to get most of the government funded months earlier, but had been stuck on paying for a wall along the southern border.
Earlier in the day, McConnell had said he planned to introduce a short-term spending bill, which would give them more time to resolve the lingering issues.
“Later this morning, we’ll introduce a continuing resolution that will ensure continuous funding for the federal government,” McConnell tweeted on Wednesday morning.
“The measure will provide the resources necessary to continue normal operations through February 8th,” he also said.
In comments on the Senate floor on Wednesday, McConnell said the continuing resolution would “ensure continuous funding for the federal government,” and would “provide the resources necessary to continue normal operations through February the 8th.”
The short-term measure needs approval from both chambers of Congress; it would then go to President Donald Trump for his signature to prevent a partial government shutdown, as noted by a number of media outlets.
Republicans will be losing congressional control when the new session starts on January 3.
They were able to maintain control of the Senate, but lost the House during the midterm elections on November 5. The proposed short-term spending bill pushes back the shutdown deadline over a month past that point.
President Donald Trump has been fighting to get $5 billion for his border wall.
He’s made border security a central promise of his presidency, with the border wall a critical piece of that. Democratic leaders have refused to give him anything for his wall — which has put both sides in a standoff.
Congress has already had to extend the shutdown deadline with temporary funding bills a couple of times as a result.
Lawmakers passed a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for two weeks to avoid a shutdown on December 7. The second minibus package included a continuing resolution that extended the original deadline on September 30.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said he is only willing to provide $1.6 billion that was included in an earlier appropriations bill.
But those funds cannot go to the construction of a border wall. The minority leader had to clarify the wall wasn’t included in the figure after facing backlash from the more progressive wings of his party.
Congress has already passed the two biggest minibus spending packages in late September.
But it still has seven spending bills that need to be passed before the government shutdown.
The first minibus package covered energy, the legislative branch, military construction and veterans affairs with billions of dollars in additional funding. The second minibus package includes billions of dollars that primarily go toward defense, labor, health services and education along with the continuing resolution.
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This article has been updated.