- The US Senate passed a stopgap continuing resolution, 87 to 11, on Wednesday to fund federal agencies into early next year and prevent a government shutdown, sending the measure to Pres. Joe Biden for signature just ahead of Friday's 11:59 p.m. deadline. The bill was passed by the House on Tuesday with near-unanimous support from Democrats and half support from Republicans.1
- Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado was the only one from his party to oppose the bill, joining 10 Republican colleagues — including Senators J.D.Vance of Ohio, Mike Braun of Indiana, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rick Scott of Florida, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Mike Lee of Utah.2
- Sen. Paul proposed an amendment that would cut overall spending — except for the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and military construction — and claw back $30B from the IRS, but the Senate rejected it 65-32. The bill that did pass didn't include additional funding for Israel or Ukraine.3
- Under the legislation, Congress will have to green-light four appropriations bills dealing with agriculture, energy, housing, and transportation, as well as veterans programs by Jan. 19. The remaining eight spending bills, including for defense, would have to be worked out by Feb. 2.4
- The upper chamber has passed only three of its own 12 appropriations bills so far via a so-called minibus package that took roughly two months to pass. Further minibuses are largely expected to be pursued for the remaining nine bills.5
- Though the Senate has negotiated and approved these three spending bills with bipartisan support, none of them have passed the Republican-majority House. Since the modern-day budget process was established in 1974, Congress has passed its annual budget by the Oct. 1 fiscal deadline only four times.6
- Democratic narrative, as provided by Los Angeles Times. The threat of a government shutdown has been postponed with this 11th-hour bill, but this all-too-usual fiscal drama is not without consequences. Rating firms have recently downgraded US credit, costing taxpayers higher interest rates and affecting faith in governance. These self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives — who allowed the debt to grow by $8T under Trump — have made budget brinkmanship a routine only when a Democrat is in the White House.
- Republican narrative, as provided by Washington Examiner. While a government shutdown will be averted for now, it's only a temporary fix that doesn't address the core issue: the US is sitting on an unsustainable amount of debt. Before this accomplishment is celebrated, it should be noted this will do little more than push the deadline back and see across-the-aisle clashes and GOP infighting postponed until next year. This isn't a win.
- Cynical narrative, as provided by The Federalist. America has been facing the threat of government shutdowns every year in a bipartisan brinkmanship theater that only favors those who are seeking to increase public expenditure in last-minute budget-busting omnibus bills. Unfortunately, lawmakers would vote yes on anything to avoid a shutdown, which is why the fiscally irresponsible always win. Legislation must be changed to automatically maintain current spending levels during deadlocks until the enactment of new appropriations bills.