Congress To Vote On Bill To Avoid Government Shutdown, Support Ukraine

Congress met Tuesday to discuss a stopgap spending bill to fund the government through mid-December and provide more than $12 billion to aid Ukraine.

After the Senate’s procedural vote, the bill will need to be passed by both chambers of Congress by the end of the day on Friday, or there will be a partial government shutdown.

In addition to Ukraine aid and government funding, the bill includes $1 billion for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP); $20 million in disaster assistance to improve the water treatment system in Jackson, Mississippi; and $3 billion for the State Department to facilitate Afghan resettlement, along with $15 million for the FBI to vet Afghan refugees.

As written, the stopgap spending bill includes West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D) Energy Independence and Security Act, which would decrease wait times for the federal government to conduct environmental reviews necessary for permitting. The bill is being included as part of a promise made by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), in exchange for Manchin’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act.

Both Republicans and Democrats have opposed Manchin’s legislation.

“We have made significant progress toward a Continuing Resolution that is as clean as possible,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL). “But, if the Democrats insist on including permitting reform, I will oppose it.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) referred to Manchin’s permitting legislation as a “reform-in-name-only plan.”

Others hope Congress can reach an agreement to include permitting legislation along with the stopgap spending bill.

“Now, there is an opportunity to make more progress, and Congress should take it,” said Neil Bradley, the business lobbying group’s executive vice president and chief policy officer.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also urged Congress to pass the bill and avoid a government shutdown.

“We encourage Congress to get it done,” she said on Monday.