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Senate begins late-night vote on $1.2 trillion government funding bill

WASHINGTON – The Senate began voting late Friday night into Saturday morning on a bill that would keep some departments open, beating a midnight deadline to avoid a partial shutdown.

But the shutdown is expected to be short-lived and have little impact, as Senate leaders announced they had agreed to vote on a series of amendments and passage of the final bill. The bill was then passed to President Joe Biden, who said he would sign it into law.

The White House Budget Office “has suspended preparations for the shutdown because we have high confidence that Congress will soon pass a related appropriation bill and that the President will sign the bill on Saturday,” a White House official said. “Because federal funding obligations are accrued and tracked daily, government agencies will not be shut down and may continue normal operations.”

If Biden signs the bill, it would fully fund the government through the end of September.

The House voted to pass it Friday morning. $1.2 trillion spending bill, It provides funding to the Departments of State, Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, among others.

The Senate advanced the bill in a 78-18 procedural vote Friday, suggesting there is enough support to get it across the finish line. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York announced just before the deadline that both parties had agreed to vote on several amendments and give the bill final passage early Saturday morning.

“It's been a very long and difficult day, but we've reached an agreement to complete the job of funding the government,” Schumer announced on the Senate floor just before midnight. “It's good for the country that we've reached this bipartisan agreement.”

A divided Congress narrowly avoided multiple shutdowns this session, passing four stopgap bills that continued to extend deadlines. And now, nearly six months into the fiscal year, haggling over financing plans has begun unusually late. The latest bill was announced Thursday and passed the House of Representatives on Friday morning, leaving little time for the Senate to act.

For a while, those talks seemed to have broken down at noon Friday, when Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) announced that Democrats, vulnerable in key Senate races, had broken the deal. He insisted that he did not want to take a vote. An amendment that could be used against them in their re-election campaign.

“The bottom line is that Democratic senators who are running for re-election are afraid to vote on this amendment,” Cotton told reporters, adding without providing evidence. “Jon Tester says he wants to vote on amendments after shutting down the government and voting Sunday night.” We'll give you these amendments. ”

But Tester, a Democrat running for re-election in the red state of Montana, which could decide the Senate majority, shot back to NBC News: “That's bullish.”

The exchange culminated as both senators were speaking to a separate group of reporters just a few feet from the Senate chamber.

“Did you say that Cotton is holding up the amendment because of Jon Tester?” Tester yelled at Cotton during the exchange. “Because if he does, he might be full of something that comes out of the cow's back.”

Senators were frustrated by the fact that Congress had repeatedly been able to avoid funding lapses for this fiscal year, but not for the last fiscal year.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said in an interview that it “makes me sick,” and that after Senate Republicans were served these items for lunch, “I feel like I've had too much sugar and bad pizza.” ” he added.

“If we had salmon, that's what we would have thought, because it's like all the good omega-3s in salmon,” she says. “We're just like a candy pizza mess, operating like teenage boys.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/us-government-partial-government-shutdown-deadline-funding-midnight-rcna144746 Senate begins late-night vote on $1.2 trillion government funding bill

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