US Senate passes resolution to avoid government shutdown

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Senate passed Thursday a stopgap funding measure to keep the federal government open until mid-December, with the House of Representatives slated to consider the resolution on Friday.

The Senate passed the matter in a bipartisan 72-25 vote; Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and 21 other Republicans joined Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Democrats in approving the item.

The continuing resolution provides enough funding to keep the federal government operating through Dec. 16. Lawmakers need to approve a funding measure before Saturday — the start of the new fiscal year — to avoid a government shutdown.

The resolution includes more than $12.3 billion in aid for Ukraine, $2 billion for block grants helping areas impacted by natural disasters and $1 billion for assisting low-income individuals and families with heating costs amid rising energy prices. Legislators also allocated $18.8 billion to FEMA’s natural disaster response campaigns, including upcoming efforts following Hurricane Ian.

The debate regarding the continuing resolution in the weeks ahead of Thursday’s vote centered on the inclusion of language related to energy permitting. Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., previously agreed to consider permitting changes as part of the deal on the Inflation Reduction Act, and Manchin wanted permitting as part of the funding measure. The agreement also included the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the 303-mile system capable of transporting natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia once finished.

Manchin asked Schumer to remove language from the funding bill on Tuesday amid a struggle to get Republicans and Democrats to support permitting changes in the continuing resolution.

“Sen. Manchin, myself and others will continue to have conversations about the best way to ensure responsible permitting reform is passed before the end of the year,” Schumer said Tuesday on the Senate floor.

Manchin noted Tuesday that Congress should pass permitting legislation, but lawmakers should work to ensure the government can remain open.

“We have a responsibility to prevent economic catastrophe for the American people and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to continue to work toward a compromise on the FY23 funding to avoid yet another extension that hurts the American people and our priorities,” he said Thursday in a statement.

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