WASHINGTON — The Senate voted 72-25 on Thursday to pass a bill to keep the government funded until Dec. 16, putting Congress on a path to avert a shutdown this weekend.
The stopgap bill gives negotiators time to hammer out a full-year funding agreement after the November midterm elections.
The legislation now goes to the House, which is expected to pass it before the Friday midnight deadline to avoid a funding lapse. But Democrats may get little Republican help, as House GOP leaders are encouraging members to vote against the measure.
“The last thing the American people need right now is a pointless government shutdown,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said before the vote. “I’m optimistic we’re on track to avoiding one well before the funding deadline. I thank all my colleagues for their good work and their cooperation.”
The funding bill also includes $12 billion in aid for Ukraine, funding for Afghan refugees, security enhancements for U.S. courts and a five-year reauthorization of the Food and Drug Administration's user fee program.
It is the last major bill that Congress expects to pass before the Nov. 8 election, potentially giving lawmakers plenty of time to go home and campaign before voters cast their ballots to decide which party controls the House and the Senate for the next two years.
The bill passed the Senate after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., backed down this week on his push to overhaul the permitting process for energy and infrastructure projects, which had faced some progressive resistance and broad Republican opposition.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the U.S. aid to Ukraine was "literally an investment in our own national security."
"Blunting Putin’s offensive in Ukraine will diminish his capacity to threaten other targets throughout the free world. And it will help deter other authoritarian regimes like China," he said in a floor speech. “Now that Congress is providing more funding, the Biden administration must move more swiftly to deliver it to Ukrainian forces on the front lines."