Senate inches toward a vote on government funding bill amid fears of brief shutdown

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WASHINGTON — The Senate inched Friday toward a last ballot connected a awesome authorities backing measure to support a slew of agencies afloat done September. But nan timing of a last ballot remains up successful nan air, pinch nan anticipation of a little shutdown lingering.

A procedural ballot Friday passed 63-35 successful nan afternoon, triggering up to 30 hours of debate. But speeding that up requires each 100 senators to agree, and galore Republicans person demanded votes connected amendments, including immigration-related measures seen arsenic poison pills. Talks continued up of a midnight deadline, pinch aides uncertain that they could decorativeness earlier a partial authorities shutdown takes effect connected Saturday.

“It’s gotten a small complicated, unfortunately,” said Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D. “Hopefully we tin debar [a shutdown] but that’s going to impact nan Democrats being consenting to activity pinch america connected immoderate amendment votes.”

Senate leaders look a tricky balance: If an amendment comes up and passes, it would disrupt nan woody and nonstop nan measure backmost to nan House, which would each but guarantee a shutdown.

“We person until coming for nan Senate to nonstop an appropriations package to nan president, aliases other nan authorities will statesman to unopen down,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Friday. “I dream my Republican colleagues will activity pinch america connected a reasonable statement truthful we tin get this backing package done coming and nonstop it to nan president’s table earlier a shutdown.”

A partial authorities shutdown would impact nan Departments of Justice, Commerce, Agriculture, Transportation and galore different parts of nan government. But it is expected to past little than 24 hours with constricted effect during nan play if senators miss nan midnight deadline. The Senate has nan ballot to walk nan backing bills, but members seeking amendment votes tin hold transition until Saturday evening.

The 1,050-page measure is simply a package of six appropriations bills negotiated by Schumer, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., President Joe Biden and apical appropriators successful some parties and chambers.

The package passed nan House connected Wednesday by a ballot of 339-85. After Senate passage, which is each but assured whenever nan ballot occurs, it will spell to Biden’s table to be signed into law.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, nan appropriations vice chair, warned that location will beryllium “a partial authorities shutdown” if nan measure doesn’t walk by midnight.

“Do we really want a seasoned who has bravely and loyally served his country, and is now trying to record a declare for benefits, to find that nan Veterans Benefits Administration’s doors are closed to him aliases her?” she asked. “Is that what we want to person happen?”

Next backing deadline: March 22

Tougher activity still lies ahead. The remaining six appropriations bills, which see contentious issues for illustration really to money nan Department of Homeland Security, look a deadline successful conscionable 2 weeks, connected March 22. Negotiators haven’t reached a woody connected that yet.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., nan apical Democratic appropriators successful nan House, said nan remaining six bills are “in various stages of negotiations” arsenic “staff connected some sides of nan aisle, successful some chambers, are moving connected them.”

“We worked difficult to get these done,” DeLauro said. “I’m optimistic astir getting nan adjacent six done.”

Schumer has praised some parties' activity connected nan first six bills.

“The process ne'er is easy successful divided government, but pinch difficult work, cooperation, and persistence, bully things tin hap if we put moving together earlier different extraneous and often destructive issues,” Schumer said, adding that it is “noteworthy that a mostly of some parties successful nan House, a mostly of moreover nan Republicans, supported this legislation.”

Johnson, for his part, said nan measure contains blimpish wins including cuts to nan FBI, Environmental Protection Agency and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He said Republicans achieved that “with divided authorities and a historically mini House majority.”

Democrats person highlighted nan package's backing for WIC, nutrient assistance for women, infants and children, among different wins.

Biden hopes to motion it into rule earlier a partial authorities shutdown occurs connected Saturday greeting astatine 12:01 a.m. ET.

Kate Santaliz

Kate Santaliz is an subordinate shaper for NBC News’ Capitol Hill team.

Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is simply a elder nationalist governmental newsman for NBC News.

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