/Senate clears stopgap spending bill, averts shutdown

Senate clears stopgap spending bill, averts shutdown

Richard Shelby

Sen. Richard Shelby. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Senate today passed stopgap spending legislation that would ward off a looming government shutdown and keep federal funding on autopilot through Nov. 21.

The upper chamber easily cleared the bill in an 82-15 vote. President Donald Trump is expected to sign it. Current federal funding runs out Monday.

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The measure buys more time for bicameral negotiations on a dozen fiscal 2020 spending bills that would provide updated funding levels for 15 federal departments and dozens of smaller federal agencies.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) warned earlier in the day, however, that bipartisan agreement on those bills could elude lawmakers if Congress and the White House aren’t able to reach an agreement on border security, including Trump’s wall.

“If these conditions are not met, I fear we are moving headlong toward a full-year continuing resolution,” Shelby said during a full committee markup of the Senate’s Interior-Environment, State-Foreign Operations, Commerce-Justice-Science, Homeland Security and Legislative Branch spending bills.

Shelby is set to meet with Trump on Friday morning to have a “candid“ discussion about the “realities” of the appropriations process and how to avoid additional continuing resolutions over the next year.

The House passed the continuing resolution last week. The measure includes a number of extensions and exceptions, providing another year to spend military assistance to Ukraine following the Trump administration’s temporary freeze on the funds.

The bill also allows the president’s trade relief to continue flowing to farmers as long as USDA is transparent about who’s getting the money.

Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories would receive a much-needed extension of their Medicaid funding.

And the National Flood Insurance Program’s authority and the Export-Import Bank’s charter would be extended through Nov. 21.

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