Congress votes to maintain authorities open via mid-February

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The Senate passed a measure late Thursday to prevent a government shutdown in an attempt to avert a partisan stalemate over federal vaccine mandates that threatened to postpone a Friday deadline.

“I’m glad that cooler heads prevailed in the end. The government will remain open, and I thank the members of this chamber for bringing us back from the brink of avoidable, unnecessary and costly closure, ”said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat.

The Senate approved the measure with 69 to 28 votes.

Earlier in the day, House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, announced an agreement to fund the federal government at current levels through February 18. Without such an emergency budget, the government would have partially closed after midnight on Friday. The measure also includes $ 7 billion for refugees in Afghanistan.

The Democrat-run House passed the measure by 221 votes to 212 and sent the measure to the Senate. The Republican leadership asked members to vote no; the lone GOP vote for the bill came from Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it.

In the Senate, a group of GOP Conservatives had planned to oppose a quick review of such a stopgap budget without an agreement to refuse funds to enforce the Biden government’s vaccine mandate for large corporations. The Senate Rules allow any single Senator to hold a vote.

Continue reading: Biden’s government is asking the court to approve the vaccination mandate for employees

And see: Congress faces closing time, hurdles to Biden’s Build Back Better plan

The shutdown was averted due to a compromise that gave Senate Conservatives, including Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee, a vote on their push to revoke Biden’s vaccine mandate in exchange for approval by the government to accelerate a funding deal. The change was rejected, 50-48.

The Republicans disagreed on the threat of a shutdown. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said “I think we’ll be fine” on Wednesday when asked about the prospect of a shutdown. On Thursday morning, Schumer said he and McConnell had agreed to keep government funding until mid-February.

Biden said earlier in the day he wasn’t expecting a shutdown. “There is a plan unless someone chooses to be completely unpredictable,” he said after speaking on COVID-19.

US stocks traded significantly higher on Thursday afternoon, with the Dow DJIA, +1.82% industrials, on track for its best percentage gain since last year as investors tried to think about the spread of the coronavirus and a blurred path for the Overlook monetary policy and the US economy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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