Senate Passes Stopgap Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

The Senate passed a short-term spending bill approved by the House last week aimed at keeping the government open after the September 30 deadline when federal funding expires.

The stopgap bill will now be sent to President Donald Trump’s desk for signing, although it remains unclear when he would do so. A White House official has said that the President would sign the measure by Tuesday.

The bill would stave off another government shutdown like the one in January, funding the government until November 21 while lawmakers are working on annual spending legislation. It extends several health-care programs and other expiring measures, including the National Flood Insurance Program, The Wall Street Journal writes.

The talks are currently in a deadlock after lawmakers were unable to agree on funding for President Trump’s border wall, an issue that led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history which lasted 35 days.

Negotiations are complicated further by the impeachment inquiry the House opened earlier this week. Lawmakers are also leaving for a two-week recess, which gives them less than two months to reach an agreement on a long-term spending bill.

The House has passed most of its spending bill, but the Senate has not approved any on the chamber’s floor as senators put it off while Congress and the Trump Administration negotiated to raise spending caps and the debt ceiling.

Republicans in the Senate have been trying to pass additional $5 billion for the construction of the wall barrier, which has been a non-starter for Democrats who consider the funding “a waste of taxpayer dollars and bad for our country.”

“It is not about solving real problems, it is about fulfilling a campaign promise,” said Senator Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Both Democrats and Republicans have opposed President Trump’s reallocation of military construction funds toward the wall, passing a resolution Wednesday to block the re-designation of funds. The House is to vote on the resolution, which is certain to be vetoed by the White House.

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