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Congress passes military authorization, one-week funding bill to avert government shutdown

The short-term funding measure buys time for leaders to negotiate a yearlong funding deal and coronavirus relief.
Image: Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell arrives to the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 11, 2020 in Washington.Stefani Reynolds / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The Senate passed a one-week stopgap bill to keep the government running through next Friday, buying time to hammer out deals on full-year funding and coronavirus aid.

Also Friday, the Senate passed a major defense authorization bill by a vote of 84-13 — giving final approval to the measure with a veto-proof majority after President Donald Trump threatened to spike it unless it included his demands to change internet liability laws.

The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House earlier by a vote of 335-78. It is unclear if Congress would override Trump's veto if he makes good on his vow to reject the measure.

Trump demanded that it include a repeal of an internet liability law commonly known as Section 230. He also opposed provisions in the bill to strip military bases of the names of Confederate leaders from the Civil War.

The government funding bill averts a government shutdown but sets up a new deadline next week.

The chamber passed the measure by a voice vote Friday, meaning no senator objected to its passage. The bill had a slight delay after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., objected to the defense authorization measure and delayed all the Senate work.

The House already passed the one-week bill Wednesday. It now goes to Trump's desk for his signature.

Coronavirus aid negotiations continue, although they've faltered in recent days over disagreements between involving liability protections for employers, a Republican priority, and aid to state and local governments, a Democratic demand.

It is unclear whether a deal can be struck in time, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have said they want to attach one to the government funding bill that they hope to complete next week.

Both have said it's not an option to leave for Christmas without a Covid-19 relief deal. Cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks and the United States on Thursday saw a record 3,110 confirmed Covid-19 deaths.