Senate passes stopgap funding bill
- By Adam Mazmanian
- Sep 26, 2019
With just one day left before a congressional recess, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve a House-passed continuing resolution to keep government open until Nov. 21.
The vote was 82-15.
According to multiple press reports, President Donald Trump intends to sign the bill to avoid a government shutdown beginning Oct. 1, the opening of fiscal year 2020.
The House voted Sept. 19 to pass the stopgap funding bill.
The Senate returned from its summer recess with most of its funding work incomplete. Over the past several weeks, the Appropriations Committee has been marking up bills at the subcommittee level and passing them out of full committee. So far appropriations bills covering the Departments of Defense, Interior, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Treasury, the Environmental Protection Agency and general government spending, including the General Services Administration and the Office of Personnel Management, have been passed to the full committee.
Bills covering the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Commerce, Justice and others await attention of the full committee.
These bills still must be advanced through the full Senate individually or in groups and conferenced with the versions of the funding bills passed by the House of Representatives before being signed by the president.
The process is aided this year by the passage of a budget agreement that sets discretionary spending limits in fiscal year 2020 at $1.37 trillion. Despite this, big differences exist between Senate Republicans and Democrats on the Trump administration's use of funds from the Pentagon and military construction budgets to fund the building of a border wall.
The fight over whether to "backfill" that funding by adding replacement money to defense and military construction appropriations could run into problems, because funding bills require 60 votes to pass. Additionally, the support of funding for the wall in the Homeland Security appropriation could also prove a point of contention in the Senate itself.
The standoff between lawmakers over wall funding led to a 35-day partial government shutdown that spanned December 2018 and January of 2019.
The Senate vote on the continuing resolution was preceded by a vote on an amendment backed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to institute an across-the-board 2% cut in the continuing resolution. That measure failed on a vote of 24 to 73.
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.