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Senate Passes Government Funding Bill, Averting Shutdown Without Raising Debt Ceiling

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) takes questions as he speaks to reporters following the weekly Senate Democratic policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., September 14, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

The Senate on Thursday passed a two-month funding bill that would avert a government shutdown and keep federal agencies open until December 3 without suspending the debt limit.

The “clean” bill passed by a 65-35 vote three days after Senate Republicans blocked a key procedural vote to advance a House-passed short-term government funding bill that would have suspended the debt limit until December 2022. The House is expected to follow suit later in the day on Thursday.

Ahead of the first vote earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) demanded that Democrats use the reconciliation process to pass a debt-limit increase without Republican votes.

“Let me make it abundantly clear one more time: We will support a clean continuing resolution that will prevent a government shutdown … We will not provide Republican votes for raising the debt limit,” he said at the time.

The new “clean” funding bill will head to the House where it must be approved and sent to President Biden for his signature before the end of Thursday, when funding for federal agencies runs out, in order to avoid a government shutdown.

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