The House is expected to vote Thursday on a bill that would keep the federal government fully funded through Feb. 18, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he expected the Senate to approve the measure before a Friday deadline to avert a partial government shutdown.
“We’re not going to shut the government down,” McConnell told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” “That makes no sense for anyone. Almost no one on either side thinks that’s a good idea.”
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, announced the continuing resolution Thursday morning, saying it made “virtually no changes to existing funding or policy”.
“While I wish it were earlier, this agreement allows the appropriations process to move forward toward a final funding agreement which addresses the needs of the American people,” she said in a statement.
One significant change is the inclusion of a provision providing $7 billion to agencies assisting evacuees from Afghanistan who have been resettled in the US.
On Wednesday, the House Freedom Caucus dispatched a letter to McConnell urging him to block the continuing resolution unless it prevented the spending of federal dollars on enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
However, McConnell — a staunch advocate of vaccination — showed no inclination to listen to that demand.
“I don’t think shutting down the government over this issue is going to get an outcome,” he told Fox News. “It’ll only create chaos and uncertainty, so I don’t think that’s the best vehicle to get this job done [of opposing mandates]. I think the courts are likely to get it done, or we’ll pass early next week, freestanding, a measure to overturn the government mandate.”
While the stopgap spending bill is expected to easily pass the House, at least two Senate GOP lawmakers — Mike Lee of Utah and Roger Marshall of Kansas — have threatened to withhold their votes over vaccine mandates.
Senate leaders will need at least 10 Republicans to vote for the measure in the upper chamber for the bill to pass.