- The House cleared a stopgap funding bill on Thursday, sending it to the Senate.
- But some Senate Republicans are seeking to nix funding from Biden’s vaccine mandate.
- The threat of federal shutdown after Friday still isn’t off the table.
The House approved a short-term funding bill on Thursday afternoon, moving to barely avert a government shutdown. The measure now heads to the Senate, where some Senate Republicans may still cause a shutdown over President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate.
The vote was 221-212 with only one Republican crossing party-lines to vote with Democrats: Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
Congressional leaders struck a short-term funding deal on Thursday and raced to finalize the details to keep the federal government’s doors open through Feb. 18. The only change to current funding levels in the bill is an additional $7 billion allocated to resettle Afghan refugees, a Democratic demand.
Some GOP senators like Ted Cruz and Roger Marshall are spearheading efforts to bar funding for agencies carrying out Biden’s mandate for large employers to either require shots or regular testing in their work places. Occupational Safety and Health Administration hasn’t implemented it yet because it’s held up in court.
Marshall and Cruz signaled on Thursday they would be satisfied with a simple majority vote on the measure when the Senate takes it up. “We just want a vote,” Sen. Mike Lee of Utah told Politico.
The threat of a shutdown has infuriated Democrats, given many in both parties had assumed it was off the table. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer smacked down Republicans on the Senate floor on Thursday.
“Unfortunately it seems Republican dysfunction could be a roadblock to averting an unnecessary and dangerous shutdown,” he said. “If there is a shutdown, it will be a Republican, anti-vaccine shutdown.”
Biden expressed confidence that lawmakers would ultimately find a way to keep the government open. “I spoke with Mitch McConnell, I spoke with Schumer,” he told reporters. “There is a plan in place unless somebody decides to be totally erratic.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted a shutdown wouldn’t happen. “We’re not going to do that,” he told reporters.
Some House Republicans reiterated their call to shut down the government to strip funding from Biden’s vaccine mandate. “Do not pass this CR,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia said on the House floor. “Shut it down.”