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Highlights: Senate passes short-term bill avoiding a government shutdown

The Senate passed the House's short-term government funding bill with a large bipartisan vote Wednesday evening, kicking the real spending fights to early 2024.
Sunrise hits the U.S. Capitol dome as it is reflected in marble panels
Sunrise hits the U.S. Capitol dome as it is reflected in marble panels on Oct. 25.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

Highlights of how Congress avoided a government shutdown:

  • The Senate passed a continuing resolution, or CR, that will fund the government through early next year. The vote came late Wednesday, just a day after it passed the House.
  • Congress had until 12:01 a.m. Saturday to fund the government or force a painful shutdown. The bill now heads to President Joe Biden's desk for him to sign before the deadline.
  • Members of both parties supported the CR, devised by new House Speaker Mike Johnson, which extends federal funding at current spending levels without major cuts that conservatives had demanded.
  • The bill is a little unusual in that it splits government funding into two groups: Some departments will be funded through Jan. 19, while others will be funded through Feb. 2. That means Congress will have to address two more government shutdown deadlines in early 2024.
15d ago / 5:02 AM UTC

Schumer: This was a good outcome; there's more to do on Israel and Ukraine


After the CR passed tonight, Schumer told reporters he was glad to see that Speaker Johnson opted for bipartisanship to keep the government open. He also said the Senate will “immediately” begin working on the national security supplemental to provide aid for Israel and Ukraine when it returns from the Thanksgiving recess.

"Keeping the government is a good outcome, of course, but we have a lot more work to do after Thanksgiving," he said.

“I know both sides genuinely care about approving aid to Israel and Ukraine and helping innocent civilians in Gaza. So I hope we can come to an agreement even if neither side gets everything they insist on,” he continued.

Schumer stressed that it needs to be bipartisan, and he said he hopes getting aid to Israel, Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific is not contingent on border security. He added that border talks are “certainly not over" and that he spoke this evening with senators involved in the negotiations who said talks are progressing.

16d ago / 4:26 AM UTC

Schumer to speak soon

Schumer will hold a news conference shortly.

16d ago / 4:23 AM UTC

One Democrat, 10 Republicans voted no


One Democrat opposed the CR tonight: Michael Bennet of Colorado.

Ten Republicans voted no: Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Jim Risch of Idaho, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, Rick Scott of Florida, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and JD Vance of Ohio.

16d ago / 4:18 AM UTC

CR passes; Congress will avoid a government shutdown

The Senate just passed a stopgap funding bill, punting the GOP’s spending fight and the threat of a government shutdown until after the holidays. The vote was 87-11.

The bill now heads to Biden for his signature.

16d ago / 4:01 AM UTC

The Senate is voting now on the CR to avoid a government shutdown

The Paul amendment failed, as expected.

The Senate is now voting on the CR. It will need 60 votes to pass.

16d ago / 3:11 AM UTC

The Senate is voting on Sen. Paul's amendment; CR is up next


After an hourslong delay, the Senate is voting on an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that is essentially its own short-term government funding bill, but with spending cuts.

The CR that passed that House yesterday is "clean," meaning it doesn't have any cuts — it would just fund the government at its current spending levels without any other policy riders.

Majority Leader Schumer announced on the floor that they came to an agreement with Sen. Wicker that allowed them to vote on the stopgap spending bill tonight. The vote to pass the CR is up next.

16d ago / 3:05 AM UTC

The Senate will vote soon

The Senate has a deal to vote on the CR tonight, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on the floor.

First, it will vote on an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., then the CR.

16d ago / 1:32 AM UTC

Senate may still vote tonight as deal over Sen. Wicker's hold nears


Wicker said moments ago that he’s “close” to reaching a resolution to end his hold on the CR. Wicker was on his way to meet with Senate leadership, including majority and minority leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, and told NBC News he feels “hopeful.”

Wicker is asking for an assurance that the National Defense Authorization Act will go to a conference committee to work out differences between the House and the Senate, a source familiar with his request said. 

The Senate continues to be in limbo, and it’s unclear whether it will vote on the CR tonight or push it to tomorrow morning. Senators NBC News spoke to this evening haven’t been able to provide much clarity about timing but have all been confident that the CR will pass before Friday.

16d ago / 12:13 AM UTC

Jeffries: Democrats 'could live with' this CR

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said that ultimately House Democrats "could live with" the Republican CR they voted to pass yesterday.

“It’s a bifurcation, but it’s a bifurcation that is certainly something we could live with. Given the fact that ... every red line that we articulated was not crossed,” said Jeffries, D-N.Y.

He said that his relationship with new Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is open, honest and communicative and that the approach will continue to be: “Let’s agree to disagree without being disagreeable.”

Jeffries also reiterated the urgency to provide aid to Israel, as well as to the Ukrainian people. The aid issue is expected to come up after Thanksgiving.

16d ago / 10:45 PM UTC

The Senate has hit a snag

The Senate still hasn't officially announced that it's voting on the CR soon. The vote may be delayed because, according to two sources familiar with the matter, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., has a hold on the bill.

Wicker, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, has placed a hold because he wants Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to commit to a date to vote on the National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate was already planning to hold a procedural vote on the NDAA later tonight, but Wicker wants an agreement on a date for final passage.

This could be resolved quickly, or it could take more time, but the hope remains that senators will vote tonight on final passage of the CR.

16d ago / 10:04 PM UTC

The Senate is expected to vote in the next hour

The Senate is expected to begin voting in the next hour, two sources familiar with the matter said. It will vote first on an amendment offered by Rand Paul, R-Ky., that is expected to fail and then on the CR itself.

We could see the first vote, on Paul’s amendment, begin at 5:30 to 6 p.m. ET.

16d ago / 9:49 PM UTC

We still don't have timing for this vote

We're waiting for Senate leadership, most likely Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to announce the schedule. All we know right now is that senators plan to hold the vote today — and that they really want to leave Washington for the Thanksgiving break.

16d ago / 8:43 PM UTC

The House has already gone home after another spending-related failure


A few hours ago, the House announced that it was canceling votes for the rest of the week and members headed out early for Thanksgiving recess. 

Votes were canceled after Republicans failed to pass the rule to move forward with the Commerce, Justice and Science funding bill, one of 12 bills to fully fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. Rule votes set the terms for debating and passing legislation and usually pass with just members of the majority party; historically they rarely fail, but there have been several instances of this happening this year.

The House is now out of town until Nov. 28.

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., told NBC News that he’s “not frustrated” by the fact that he’s had to pull multiple spending bills from the floor because he couldn’t get GOP consensus on them.

"This is part of the process and we’re working towards consensus and I’ve been on the job for less than three weeks,” he said.

16d ago / 8:05 PM UTC

The Senate will take up a Rand Paul amendment first

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All 100 senators need to agree in order to pass the CR today and overcome some procedural hurdles.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was the only public holdout, but agreed to move forward in exchange for getting a vote on an alternative short-term funding bill that includes spending cuts. It is not expected to pass.

Then, the full Senate will vote on the CR. It's expected to pass easily and then senators will likely head home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

16d ago / 8:00 PM UTC

What's in the bill?

The so-called laddered continuing resolution, or CR, that passed the House yesterday would fund the government at current spending levels, but it splits that funding into two parts.

The first part funds the departments dealing with agriculture, transportation, housing and urban development, military construction, energy, water and Veterans Affairs through Jan. 19.

The remaining agency appropriations will be funded through Feb. 2. That includes departments dealing with commerce, justice, science, defense, financial services, homeland security, the interior, the environment, labor, education, health and human services, the legislative branch, state and foreign operations.

The CR is “clean,” with no spending cuts or contentious policy provisions that would alienate Democrats. It also does not include a supplemental package covering things like aid for Israel and Ukraine, humanitarian assistance or border security, leaving those issues for later in the year.

16d ago / 8:00 PM UTC

Catch up on Tuesday's action: House passes a stopgap bill to avert a government shutdown

House lawmakers on Tuesday passed Speaker Mike Johnson’s stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown, most likely punting the GOP’s spending fight until after the holidays.

The vote was 336-95, with 209 Democrats and 127 Republicans voting to support it. Ninety-three Republicans voted against it, more than voted against the last government funding bill in September; two Democrats opposed it: Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts and Mike Quigley of Illinois.

Because of the way leadership structured the vote, it needed support from two-thirds of the full House to pass.

“We just had to get the job done,” Johnson, R-La., said after the vote.

Read the full story here.

16d ago / 8:00 PM UTC

How Democrats saved House Speaker Mike Johnson's spending bill

16d ago / 8:00 PM UTC

Senate to vote on the CR today, Schumer's office confirms

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The Senate is taking some procedural moves to set up final passage of the CR today along with an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., per a spokesperson for Leader Schumer. We expect the Senate to pass the CR later this evening.