Senate passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown at midnight
(CNN) -- The Senate on Friday passed a one-week stop-gap funding bill by voice vote to avert a government shutdown at midnight. The bill will next go to President Donald Trump for his signature.
The short-term spending bill would extend government funding by a week to December 18 and is aimed at giving lawmakers more time to reach an agreement on Covid relief and broader funding legislation for a new fiscal year. It passed the House earlier this week.
Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who had been objecting to a quick vote on a defense bill, told CNN Friday morning he will let the stop-gap funding bill pass later in the day, which could avoid a shutdown. Paul explained that his main point was to delay the Senate's vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, for a day.
But even with Paul vowing not to block a short-term funding bill, there were still other problems.
The Senate needed all 100 senators to agree to schedule a vote, and several senators were making demands that complicated the ability to avoid a shutdown by midnight tonight.
Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders had been demanding a vote on a provision that would give individuals $1,200 stimulus checks.
In addition, other lawmakers are also making demands, including Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican of Indiana. He wants a vote on a proposal to ensure Congress doesn't get paid if it fails to pass a budget. The measure, ironically, includes a provision to prevent government shutdowns.
Senate Majority Whip John Thune confirmed those were the two main holdups. "There is either going to be a bunch of stuff, or nothing."
"Neither side is blinking at the moment," he said.
For now, it's unclear exactly how the standoff will play out. If a shutdown were to happen it would likely be brief and over the weekend when many government operations are not open.
The short-term spending bill would extend government funding by a week and is aimed at giving lawmakers more time to reach an agreement on Covid relief and broader funding legislation for a new fiscal year. It passed the House earlier this week.
The uncertainty over a potential shutdown comes as lawmakers are also continuing to struggle to reach agreement over a new round of Covid relief and a broader government funding package.
If the Senate passes the stopgap bill Friday, it will set up a new looming deadline -- giving lawmakers just one additional week to work out thorny issues that are currently holding up those agreements, or potentially witness the collapse of the talks involved in both issues.
This story has been updated with additional developments Friday.
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