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Senate approves funding patch to launch March shutdown cliff

Democrats blocked the fast-track passage of the interim funding bill after caving in to Republican demands for three amendment votes. The Senate voted 46 to 47 to reject an amendment by the senator. mike lee (R-Utah) that would prevent the Biden administration from enforcing vaccination mandates for federal workers and the military. On a 44-49 vote, the chamber rejected a proposal by the senator. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to cut federal money to schools and daycares that require children to be vaccinated against Covid.

“The American people understand that we are ready to move on. We are prepared to not let the government dictate every aspect of our lives,” Lee said on the floor.

A commonly proposed “balanced budget” amendment was defeated 47-45, under a bar of 60 votes. This proposal of Sen. mike brown (Rind.) would harder for Congress to raise taxes or increase the nation’s borrowing limit.

Several senators left Thursday afternoon for a foreign security conference, improving the vote count in favor of the Democrats and guaranteeing the failure of the GOP amendments, paving the way for the final passage of the bill. short-term financing.

Beyond his party’s poor political outlook, Senate Majority Leader Sen. chuck schumer (DN.Y.) was under pressure to ensure that Republican-proposed changes were defeated because changing the bill would send it back to the House. It would have been difficult for the lower house to pass it in time to avoid a shutdown, since House lawmakers left last week for a long break.

“The House is out of session. We don’t have time for a long, protracted debate,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Sen said. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said on the court Thursday.

The Vermont Democrat urged senators to “be responsible” by voting against any amendment to the bill, whether proposed by Republicans or Democrats, noting that a shutdown would be inevitable if Congress did not send the funding bill “in its current form” to Biden before Friday’s deadline.

Democratic leaders could have avoided the drama of the last-minute shutdown by calling the funding bill a few days ago. The House passed the measure last week, giving the Senate enough time to debate federal funding and take a regular vote before the deadline.

“If we had done this Monday or Tuesday, we would be done by now,” said Senator Minority Whip Sen. John Thune (RS.D.) noted. “He was available, as you know, last week.”

Connor O’Brien contributed to this report.

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