Congress

Funding bill fails in Senate

By Orhan Cam Royalty-free stock photo ID: 546416560 United States Capitol Building in Washington DC USA 

Senate Republicans blocked a bill Monday night that aimed to address both the potential partial government shutdown and the looming federal debt ceiling.

The bill would have provided continuing funding for agencies through Dec. 3, 2021, and suspended the debt limit through Dec. 16, 2022. It also would have provided supplemental appropriations and extended several expiring programs and authorities. The measure needed 60 affirmative votes to pass; the final tally was 48-50.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was among the “no” votes -- a procedural move that allows him to pursue “additional action” on the bill. “Keeping the government open and preventing a default is vital to our country’s future,” he said. “We’ll be taking further action to prevent this from happening this week.”

House Democrats passed their version of the bill on Sept. 21, on a 220-211 vote.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also opposed the bill. He supports a continuing resolution, but said on the Senate floor that Republicans would not support raising the debt limit.

“The Democratic leader has scheduled a vote today that he knows will fail,” McConnell said. “We’re willing to work together to keep the government open. We’re not willing to help Democrats raise the debt ceiling.”

Schumer laid the blame on Republicans, saying on the floor that the GOP “has solidified itself as the party of default, and it will be the American people who pay the price.”

If a shutdown does occur when the current fiscal years ends on Sept. 30, it will affect government services and the work and pay of feds.

"Even with the promise of backpay once the shutdown ends, forcing federal employees to go without income during a shutdown is a significant financial hardship,” said National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon.

He said the union “appreciates” efforts to pass continuing resolution funding, but noted that long-term, agencies need year-long deals in order to plan ahead.

About the Author

Natalie Alms is a staff writer at FCW covering the federal workforce. She is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University and has written for the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Connect with Natalie on Twitter at @AlmsNatalie.

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