Lawmakers advanced a continuing resolution on Saturday that would maintain current government spending levels, buying Congress 45 extra days to pass its annual appropriations bill to renew funding for the next fiscal year. The continuing resolution includes all of Biden’s $16 billion supplemental request for disaster relief and funds the government at fiscal 2023 levels.
The stopgap measure passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support early in the afternoon, sending the legislation to the Senate less than 10 hours before the midnight deadline.
However, the bill hit a snag in the upper chamber after Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO) threatened to stall passage because of its exclusion of Ukraine aid, a provision that was stripped from the bipartisan spending deal due to a lack of GOP support. That delay pushed the final vote until after 8:30 p.m., giving lawmakers only a handful of hours to deliver the legislation to the president’s desk.
Bennett pushed leadership to commit to holding a separate vote on supplemental Ukraine aid, vowing not to advance the legislation until a vote was scheduled. Senate leaders came to an agreement with the Colorado Democrat to move forward with more Ukraine aid.
“We will not stop fighting for more economic and security assistance for Ukraine,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement. “Majorities in both parties support Ukraine aid and doing more is vital for America’s security and for democracy around the world.”
The Senate later passed the legislation with an 88-9 vote, sending the legislation to Biden with only three hours until the midnight deadline. The president signed the stopgap measure shortly after 11 p.m., renewing funding for the next month and a half.
The House is scheduled to reconvene on Monday to restart work on passing the remainder of its spending bills, with plans to begin debate on its Energy and Water Development and Legislative Branch appropriations. The Senate will return on Tuesday.