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Senate Sends Short-Term Spending Bill to Trump to Avoid Shutdown

President now needs to sign the continuing resolution

Senators were able to pass a short-term spending bill on Thursday to fund the government for two weeks in their efforts to avoid a shutdown.

President Donald Trump now needs to sign the continuing resolution before the shutdown deadline Friday.

The House already passed the bill less than an hour earlier, which provides funding through December 21.

Both chambers quickly passed the resolution, without much debate, with a voice vote.

“Several of our biggest achievements in this Congress couldn’t have happened without bipartisan support like the landmark opioids legislation,” Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said on the Senate floor hours before the vote.

“Our work for the rest of the year will also need cooperation and a bipartisan spirit, particularly when it comes to funding the rest of our government.”

“We already joined together to fund roughly 75 percent of the federal government.”

Related: House Takes Major Step Toward Pushing Back Government Shutdown

Cornyn called for bipartisan cooperation while appealing to the memory of former President George H.W. Bush, who passed away last week.

The Texas senator noted the way in which both sides have come together to mourn the 41st president’s passing — and how that echoed Bush’s own call about working together.

“While we complete our work on the remaining appropriations bills, I expect a lot of the focus to be on border security,” Cornyn said. “And it’s no secret coming from a border state this is very serious business to me. I know it is to many of our colleagues.”

Trump made border security a core promise of his presidency, with a $5 billion security wall along the southern border a pivotal piece of that plan. But he has said he is willing to sign the continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has instead offered to compromise with $1.6 billion for border security.

“Democrats have offered to pass the bipartisan DHS appropriations bill, agreed to six months ago, which includes $1.6 billion for border security,” Schumer said on the Senate floor on Thursday.

“But there has been some confusion about that figure. Let me be clear. The $1.6 billion cannot be used to construct any part of President Trump’s 30-foot tall concrete border wall. It can only be used for fencing, using technology currently deployed at the border and only where experts say fencing is appropriate.”

Congress was able to fund the bulk of the government already by passing two minibus spending packages, but seven spending bills remain. The first minibus package covered energy, the legislative branch, military construction and veterans affairs issues, with billions of dollars in additional funding.

Trump signed that package into law on September 26.

Related: First ‘Minibus’ Spending Package Sent to Trump Ahead of Shutdown

The second minibus package includes billions of dollars that primarily go toward defense, labor, health services and education.

It also allowed lawmakers to avoid an earlier government shutdown by including a continuing resolution that extended the original deadline to September 30. Trump signed the package into law on September 28.

The House and Senate passed their own versions of the third minibus proposal this summer but were unable to resolve differences in order to send it to the president.

The third package will include funding for various federal agencies, such as the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Connor D. Wolf covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at [email protected].