Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday teed up a vote for next week on a stopgap government funding bill as Congress faces down a Nov. 17 shutdown deadline.
“Today I am taking the first procedural step for the Senate to move forward on a legislative vehicle we can use next week to pass a temporary extension to avoid a government shutdown,” Schumer said, adding that both parties will continue discussions on a continuing resolution to do that.
“I earnestly hope we can reach an agreement sooner rather than later,” Schumer said.
The Democratic leader also reiterated his comments that the only way to fund the government is on a bipartisan basis, and he pointed to the troubles that plagued Congress ahead of the deal that averted a government shutdown on Sept. 30 but ultimately cost former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) the post.
“I implore Speaker Johnson and our House Republican colleagues and learn from the fiasco of a month ago. Hard-right proposals, hard-right slash and cuts, hard-right poison pills that have zero support from Democrats will only make a shutdown more likely,” Schumer said.
“I hope they don’t go down that path in the week to come,” he added.
What the Senate’s legislation will look like remains an open question. Top Democrats are hoping for a stopgap spending package that would extend funding until shortly before Christmas, giving them a chance to pass a larger fiscal 2024 bill.
Top Senate appropriators have discussed moving on the remaining nine appropriations bills — known as a “megabus” — in that time. The Senate recently passed its first minibus, a package with three appropriations bills, having first brought the process to the floor in mid-September.
Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and House Republicans would prefer a bill that lasts into January so they aren’t squeezed by the Senate and its appropriations process. GOP members on both sides of the Capitol have made clear they want no part of an omnibus spending bill like the one that was passed at the end of 2022.
Johnson has also proposed a “laddered” continuing resolution, which would go into effect by passing a short-term funding bill that would set up several deadlines down the road for different parts of the government. However, some Senate Republicans, including Appropriations Committee ranking member Susan Collins (R-Maine), are dubious of the plan.
The House is expected to move on its funding bill early next week.