In a sweeping bipartisan vote late Wednesday, the Senate sent President Trump a bill to fund the government through December 11, avoiding the possibility of a government shutdown when the new fiscal year starts Thursday.
Senators voted 84-10 on Wednesday to keep the government funded at current levels, setting up another funding fight after the November elections and right before the holidays. The House passed the bill earlier this month.
The last-minute passage of the legislation comes after the Senate punted the bill last week as a burgeoning fight over the Supreme Court has diminished day-to-day cooperation in the chamber. Republicans had hoped to pass the continuing resolution (CR), which continues funding at fiscal 2020 levels, last week, but argue Democrats wanted to keep them off the campaign trail in the final stretch of the election.
This legislation will keep every federal agency running at current funding levels through the election that could reshuffle a balance of power in Washington.
The measure also extends many programs whose funding or authorizations lapse on September 30, including the federal flood insurance program, highway and transit programs, and a long set of extensions of various health programs, such as provision to prevent Medicaid cuts to hospitals that serve many poor people.
It also finances the possible transition to a new administration, if Biden wins the election, and would stave off an unwelcome COVID caused increase in Medicare Part B premiums for outpatient doctor visits. Farm Interests won language that would permit Trump’s farm bailout to continue without fear of interruption. In exchange, House Democrats won $8 billion in food aid for the poor.