By Moira Warburton
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed three bills laying out funding plans for agriculture, military and veterans affairs and transportation for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2024.
Congress has until Nov. 17 to agree on funding to avert a partial government shutdown. The Senate and House of Representatives are taking sharply different approaches. The Democratic-controlled Senate is working on bipartisan bills while the Republican-controlled House is aiming for measures that will pass with only votes from the majority.
Ultimately the two chambers and parties will have to agree on a common approach that Democratic President Joe Biden will sign into law. With time short, lawmakers from both parties agree it is likely they will need to pass a stopgap measure known as a “continuing resolution.”
“The only way things get done in divided government is bipartisanship,” Schumer said after the vote. “The American people won’t support the futile exercise of passing partisan, extremist legislation that has no chance of becoming law, which is what the House is doing right now.”
BY THE NUMBERS
Congress must pass 12 appropriations bills to fund the government through its fiscal year.
So far, the House has passed one appropriations bill, which due to its policy changes and spending cuts has no chance of passing the Senate or being signed into law by Biden.
The Senate’s three bills passed on Wednesday with strong bipartisan support, by a margin of 82-15.
Congress narrowly averted a shutdown last month after the House passed a bipartisan continuing resolution that led a small group of hardline Republicans to oust then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy’s successor, Republican Speaker Mike Johnson, is aiming to pass three 2024 spending bills with sharp spending cuts this week to placate party hardliners before turning to a CR, which he has said would extend through mid-January or mid-April.
The U.S. budget deficit last year hit $1.7 trillion, its highest outside of the COVID crisis, as rising interest rates pushed borrowing costs higher.
(Reporting by Moira Warburton; Editing by Scott Malone, Rod Nickel and Bill Berkrot)