Racing to avoid a government shutdown at midnight, the Senate on Thursday approved a spending bill to extend federal funding through early December and provide emergency aid to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees and disaster recovery efforts across the country.
The legislation passed 65 to 35, and now heads to the House, where it is also expected to be approved, clearing it for President Biden’s signature before funding lapses.
“This is a good outcome — one I am happy we are getting done,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, speaking on the Senate floor ahead of the vote. “With so many things happening in Washington, the last thing the American people need is for the government to grind to a halt.”
Lawmakers reached a deal on the spending legislation after Democrats agreed to strip out a provision that would have raised the federal government’s ability to continue borrowing funds through the end of 2022. Senate Republicans blocked an initial funding package on Monday over its inclusion, refusing to give the majority party any of the votes needed to move ahead on a bill to avert a first-ever federal default in the coming weeks.
The legislation that passed on Thursday would keep the government fully funded through Dec. 3, giving lawmakers additional time to reach consensus over the dozen annual bills that dictate federal spending. It would provide $6.3 billion to help Afghan refugees resettle in the United States and $28.6 billion to help communities rebuild from hurricanes, wildfires and other recent natural disasters.
The disaster funding is intended to help communities across the country continue recovering from the damage inflicted in recent years by natural disasters, including Hurricanes Ida, Delta, Zeta, and Laura, as well as wildfires, droughts and winter storms.
It would also distribute billions of dollars across the federal government to help Afghan refugees settle in the United States, including funds to help provide emergency housing, English lessons and additional resources.
Before agreeing to the details of the spending bill, the Senate defeated an amendment proposed by Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, that would have curtailed the duration of some of the benefits for Afghan refugees.
Senators also voted down an amendment, offered by Senator Roger Marshall, Republican of Kansas, that would have barred funds from going toward the implementation and enforcement of Mr. Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandate, as well as an amendment that would deny lawmakers pay should they fail to pass a budget resolution and the dozen spending bills by Oct. 1.