YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Lawmakers are a step closer to avoiding a shutdown of the federal government at midnight Thursday with a temporary funding plan. Now, it’s up to President Biden to sign it.
Both the House and Senate approved the plan Thursday that will keep agencies operating until early December.
The House approved the short-term funding measure by a 254-175 vote not long after Senate passage in a 65-35 vote. A large majority of Republicans in both chambers voted against it.
Passage will buy lawmakers more time to craft the spending measures that will fund federal agencies and the programs they administer.
With their energy focused on Biden’s agenda, Democrats backed down from a showdown over the debt limit in the government funding bill, deciding to uncouple the borrowing ceiling at the insistence of Republicans. If that cap is not raised by Oct. 18, the U.S. probably will face a financial crisis and economic recession, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.
Once the government is funded, albeit temporarily, Democrats will turn their full attention to the need to raise the limit on federal borrowing, which now stands at $28.4 trillion.
Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he supports a trillion-dollar infrastructure package but opposes an even larger plan that he calls reckless for the economy.
“I think they need to continue to keep these things separate. That was the deal all along. If you do that, I think on its merits, the Infrastructure Bill will pass and I hope we will not do the reckless tax and spend plan,” Portman said.
Some Democrat lawmakers are insisting the two bills be passed together and are threatening to defeat both if they are voted on separately.