A majority in the United States House of Representatives approved a bill on Thursday to avoid a partial government shutdown, extending until February 18 the funds from the federal agency that would have expired on Friday night.
The Democrat-controlled lower house voted 221-212 to pass the interim funding bill, which runs until February 18. Only one Republican supported the initiative.
The Senate will have to vote on Friday on the project that finances the government until February 18 and send it to the US president, Joe Biden, to be enacted before Friday’s deadline, which is when a partial shutdown would begin.
A group of conservative hardline Republicans in the Senate threaten to delay consideration in protest against the Covid-19 vaccination mandates of Biden, which raises the possibility that the government partially closes during the weekend while the upper house moves slowly towards an eventual approval.
If the bill is not passed, hundreds of thousands of federal workers could be laid off, causing dozens of programs to be halted or scaled back.
The minority leader of the SenateMitch McConnell, who must quell the rebellion within his caucus to keep the government running, reiterated Thursday that there would be no shutdown. But he did not respond when asked whether Republicans would agree to act quickly by agreeing to circumvent the Senate’s cumbersome legislative rules.
We need to approve it and that is what we are going to work to do, “the top Senate Republican told reporters.
Democrats have 50 seats in the 100-seat Senate, and Vice President Kamala Harris can vote in the event of a tie.