Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
March 1, 2024

Neither the Senate nor the House are in session today, after the Senate on Thursday evening passed a short-term spending bill that punts this weekend’s shutdown threat to later in the month, but leaves questions about how Congress will fund the government through the rest of the year.  Senators voted 77-13 to send the funding measure to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature, just hours after the House voted overwhelmingly to pass the bill 320-99 and just a day before a tranche of government funding was set to expire.  The House vote had the support of 207 Democrats and 113 Republicans.  The stopgap bill will maintain funding for the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, Energy, Justice, Commerce, and other offices through March 8th.  Lawmakers will now have until March 22nd to wrap up fiscal 2024 funding for the Pentagon, the legislative branch and foreign operations, as well as the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, State and Homeland Security. The new two-date funding patch still saves the most challenging bills for last, punting on funding for the Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security, federal health programs and many other agencies that typically spur partisan feuding over both spending levels and policy.  Lawmakers will still have to agree on these spending measures, and then try to pass them individually over the next three weeks, or face yet another potential shutdown.  For months, Congress has been mired in seemingly intractable spending negotiations, as Republicans bent on steep cuts and conservative policy mandates refused to accept a deal with Democrats. The vote on Thursday marked the fourth time since September that lawmakers had essentially punted on the fight and passed a stopgap spending bill keeping government funding flowing at current levels.

The Senate is set to reconvene at 3:00 P.M. on Tuesday, March 5th, while the House will also return on Tuesday with first votes at 6:30 P.M.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.