House Averts Shutdown With Short-Term Bill After Punting Again on Budget

The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to avert a government shutdown with a short-term spending bill after both parties again punted on passing a yearlong budget, The New York Times reports.

The House voted 272-162 to extend government funding until March 11.

Government funding was set to lapse by February 18 after a similar short-term deal last year.

The Senate is expected to pass the legislation before the February 18 deadline.

Democrats have largely been distracted with their own legislative priorities while Republicans are opposed to increased spending and appear content with short-term bills that leave in place Trump-era funding levels.

“We live in a world that is too dangerous for Democrats to go hog wild on domestic programs and welfare,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, adding that “in a 50-50 Senate, we’ll obviously need to honor the bipartisan status quo.”

Hopes for full budget:

Democrats say they are still working to get a full budget deal done.

“I have every expectation that we can finalize a framework in short order, and then work together to fill in the details and enact an omnibus,” House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro told the Times. “The American people deserve the certainty that comes with full-year funding bills.”

Democrats in negotiations have pushed to increase funding for domestic and social programs.

Republicans have insisted that military funding be raised at the same level.

The GOP has also demanded that Democrats agree to maintain the Hyde Amendment, a longtime ban on federal funding for most abortions.

Democrats are pushing to cut the Hyde Amendment from the bill.

What now?

A budget deal still appears out of reach with Democrats focused on a big spending bill and election reform. President Joe Biden is also expected to seek additional pandemic funding.

Both sides say they are still continuing to negotiate.

“We’re playing tennis,” Alabama Senator Richard Shelby told the Times. “Volleying, volleying.”

Without a budget deal, Congress would have to allow the government to shut down or continue passing short-term deals that leave Trump-era funding levels in place.


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