Senate Approves Clean Continuing Resolution 88-9, Hours Before Funding Deadline, Averts Government Shutdown

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 09/30/2023
On Saturday, the Senate successfully approved a clean continuing resolution, which had initially been introduced in the House of Representatives. This significant development occurred mere hours before the federal government was scheduled to exhaust its funding and face a potential shutdown.

On Saturday night, the Senate made a decision by voting 88-9 in favor of the continuing resolution. This resolution serves as a temporary spending bill that enables the federal government to maintain its operations for a period of 45 days. The purpose of this bill is to provide lawmakers with additional time to engage in negotiations and reach an agreement regarding the annual appropriations bills. The bill is currently on its way to President Joe Biden's desk. The measure was opposed by several senators, namely Mike Braun (R-IN), Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), JD Vance (R-OH), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

The previous bipartisan continuing resolution was abandoned by Senate Republicans due to a sudden change in plans by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). On Saturday morning, McCarthy announced that the House would instead be considering a 45-day continuing resolution. This resolution would provide funds for disaster relief but would not include any funding to assist Ukraine.


The House recently approved a bill that maintains government funding at the same levels as the fiscal year 2023. Additionally, the bill allocates $16 million for disaster relief, extends a federal flood insurance program, and grants an extension for the Federal Aviation Administration. In order to avoid a government shutdown, Senate leaders have chosen to vote on the House's version of the bill.

According to Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), he expressed his support for any measure that ensures the continuity of the government. He made this statement on Saturday while reflecting on a particular plan that notably does not include assistance for Ukraine.

The Senate leaders had previously proposed a legislation to provide funding for the government until November. This legislation also included a provision to allocate $6 billion for Ukraine. The intention behind this decision was to approve the remaining aid for Ukraine at a later stage.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressed his confidence that the Senate will approve additional urgent assistance for Ukraine in the near future.

Mitch McConnell delivered a passionate argument in support of voting to move forward with the Senate's initial bipartisan continuing resolution, which included assistance for Ukraine. However, his efforts were unsuccessful as he advised members of his caucus to vote against the previous proposal in the Senate.

There appears to be a potential bipartisan agreement emerging from the House of Representatives. Earlier on Saturday, McConnell expressed his belief that a majority of our members are likely to vote against cloture. The statement suggests that the reason for not immediately passing the bill is not necessarily due to opposition towards its main content. Instead, it is to observe the House's ability to work together in a bipartisan manner before bringing it over for further consideration.

According to aides familiar with the matter, senior administration officials informed McConnell over the weekend that the United States would be unable to provide Ukraine with aid for the next 45 days unless additional funding was included in the continuing resolution.

Supporters of adding Ukraine aid to the continuing resolution express their concern regarding the potential message it may send to Russian President Vladimir Putin if the aid is not included.

According to Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), he is perplexed by the apparent inconsistency among individuals who initially expressed support for Ukraine but now advocate for the current House version. The action not only results in the isolation of Ukraine, but also hinders the transfer authority.

The Senate Democrats have announced their intention to initiate the process of advancing a supplementary funding package for Ukraine in the upcoming week.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has announced that he and Leader McConnell have reached an agreement to persist in their efforts to secure additional economic and security aid for Ukraine.

After a recent meeting of Senate Democrats, Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, expressed uncertainty regarding the means by which additional funding will be obtained.

The speaker expressed their commitment to ensuring the continuous provision of aid to Ukraine.

After President Biden signs the legislation, it grants both chambers of Congress additional flexibility to engage in negotiations and successfully pass their 12 appropriations bills.

Prior to the August recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee granted approval to all 12 bills, aligning them with the predetermined limits established in the debt ceiling agreement negotiated by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). The agreement sets a specific cap on the total amount of national security spending for fiscal year 2024, which is $886 billion. This represents an approximate 3% increase compared to the current levels of spending. In fiscal year 2025, there is a proposed cap on defense spending at $895 billion. This represents a 1% increase compared to the previous year.


The Senate recently encountered a setback when it was unable to secure enough votes to pass a procedural vote on a comprehensive spending bill. This bill aimed to allocate funds for various government departments, including Agriculture, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, and military construction. Notably, key Republicans voted against the measure, as they sought additional time to negotiate and reach a mutually agreeable deal.

The vote on the attempt to change Senate rules to keep the minibus together was largely divided along party lines. Republicans voted against limiting debate, while the intention was to ensure that everyone was on board with the process before proceeding with amendments.


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