The Senate voted Tuesday to advance a short-term funding measure to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the week.
The Senate voted 77-19 to advance the legislative vehicle it will use for a continuing resolution (CR) funding government until Nov. 17.
The vote puts the Senate on a path to pass a CR later this week that it could then send to the House to avoid an Oct. 1 shutdown.
The House has been stuck on how to move forward with funding the government amid disputes among Republicans in the majority.
If the Senate does approve a CR, it could put pressure on the House to bring it to the floor and avoid a shutdown, particularly if the lower chamber has not made much progress on its own.
The Senate legislation will fund the federal government until Nov. 17, the week before Thanksgiving, and provide approximately $6.15 billion in funding for Ukraine and $5.99 billion in disaster assistance.
The legislation will also temporarily extend the expiring authority of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Senate leaders kept the details of the legislation secret until shortly before Tuesday’s vote as lawmakers wrestled behind the scenes over adding money for Ukraine.
The vote shows that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) are largely on the same page in wanting to avoid a shutdown that would suspend a litany of government services and furlough of thousands of government workers.
Schumer on Tuesday afternoon described the bill as a “bridge” to buy negotiators more time to hash out a longer-term deal to fund the government.
“Senate Democrats and Republicans, together, worked in good faith to reach an agreement on a continuing resolution that will keep the government open beyond Sept. 30,” the Democratic leader said on the floor.
He acknowledged the agreement “won’t have everything that both sides want” but argued it “will help us to achieve our immediate and necessary goal of avoiding a government shutdown.”
Schumer praised his Republican colleagues for working with Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) over the weekend.
“The funding levels continue at the same level as before. There is $6.1 billion for Ukraine on the defense side and the State Department side. There is $6 billion for disaster relief,” Schumer announced. “This is not going to be the final proposal for the whole year.”
McConnell urged his Republican colleagues to pass the funding measure to dodge a shutdown that would only be “bad news” for his party.
“At midnight on Sunday, current appropriations will run out, and the federal government will shut down. Over the years, I’ve been pretty clear in my view that government shutdowns are bad news whichever way you look at them.”
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday floated the possibility of meeting with Biden to work out a compromise and suggested that adding language to strengthen border security could be the key to a deal.
“The president could keep government open by doing something on the border,” he told reporters.
He said a meeting with Biden would be “very important” to keeping the government funded.
A shutdown would delay federal loans to farmers, limit Food and Drug Administration inspections of food products, and furlough staff at the Environmental Protection Agency who inspect drinking water facilities.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack warned earlier this month that a shutdown could jeopardize nutrition assistance for nearly 7 million women and children who rely on the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children.
The Women, Infants and Children and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, however, does have contingency funds that it could draw upon.
Schumer warned that a shutdown would throw the Transportation Security Administration “into chaos” and possibly delay and disrupt domestic air travel and undermine enforcement actions along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Even FEMA’s disaster relief fund could actually dry up,” he said.
McConnell, speaking on the floor, warned that a shutdown would create “unnecessary hardships for millions of Americans.”
“For example, nearly 46,000 service members and 22,000 civilian workers in my home state of Kentucky … earn federal government paychecks,” he said.
Updated at 7:06 p.m. ET