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Senate prepares week-long funding bill to avoid government shutdown

The Senate is racing to avoid a government shutdown scheduled for Friday by passing a week-long short-term funding bill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., told the Senate on Monday that the extension would give bipartisan lawmakers more time to strike a one-year budget deal.

“The benefits of an omnibus are as numerous as there are citizens in America,” Schumer said.

While Democrats and Republicans agree that a short-term spending bill is needed to prevent a Dec. 16 shutdown, significant hurdles remain. Republicans and Democrats are pushing their own priorities ahead of the new Congress taking office in January.

GOP lawmakers are aiming for a short-term funding bill that keeps the government afloat until mid-January, when Republicans take control of the House. The maneuver would give Republicans more power to demand concessions from Democrats and President Biden on administration policy.


“It’s not an easy process, but it’s important nonetheless,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“A deal that defeated poison pills and went in January would bolster Republican influence to dictate policy terms,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla, said.

Democrats prefer a one-year budget bill that increases government spending. They say a one-year deal will allow the United States to deal with geopolitical threats posed by Russia and China, while simultaneously providing a boost to government services as recession fears loom.

“It’s not an easy process, but it’s important nonetheless,” Schumer said last week. “For the well-being of our troops, for the preservation of our national security, for the tens of millions of Americans who look to the federal government for a wide range of basic services, Democrats and Republicans must work together to fully fund the federal government.”


Despite the impasse, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., said bipartisan negotiations are progressing. Democrats were originally set to release their own one-year budget deal this week, but it was scrapped at the last minute.

“Speaker Leahy believes that sufficient progress in negotiations has taken place over the weekend to delay the introduction of the omnibus appropriations bill for the time being,” said a Democratic Senate aide. “Bipartisan and bicameral negotiations are continuing.”

Most heists focus on the equally divided Senate, where at least 60 votes will be needed to prevent a shutdown. Inside the chamber, Republicans are pushing for parity in defense and social spending programs.

The two sides have agreed to earmark nearly $858 billion for defense in the next fiscal year, but Democrats want nearly $885 billion for domestic programs.

"Democrats want to play games to increase the amount of non-defense discretionary spending," said Senate Republican Whip John Thune.

“Democrats want to play games to increase the amount of non-defense discretionary spending,” said Senate Republican Whip John Thune.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Senate Republican Whip John Thune, RS.D., argued that social spending need not be increased since the recently passed $739 billion Inflation Cut Act has already boosted domestic expenses.

“Democrats want to play games to increase the amount of non-defense discretionary spending,” Thune said.

Above the negotiations, there are fears that a GOP-controlled House may not have the votes next year to pass a one-year budget. Republicans are expected to hold only a narrow majority in the chamber.

The White House has requested nearly $38 billion in new aid from Ukraine.

The White House has requested nearly $38 billion in new aid from Ukraine.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus are already lining up against more military and humanitarians help to ukraine. The White House has requested nearly $38 billion in new aid from Ukraine.


Earlier this year, 57 Republicans in the House and 11 in the Senate opposed further aid to Ukraine unless the administration put in place sufficient accountability measures to prevent corruption.

“Americans deserve to know where all that money went,” said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Arizona. “It’s time for a thorough audit.”

Some Democrats say looming GOP opposition makes it all the more important for Congress to pass a one-year budget before January.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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