US Senate passes temporary spending bill to prevent government shutdown
The US Senate passed a temporary spending bill on Wednesday to fund the federal government into December, just a few hours before the annual spending bill would expire and the government was set to shut down.
The upper chamber approved the bill in an 84-10 vote, following the House's passage last week. The measure has been sent to President Donald Trump, who will likely sign it into law to avoid a federal funding lapse just weeks before the presidential election.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached an agreement with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Republicans on the so-called continuing resolution (CR) legislation last week, which includes US$8 billion in additional food assistance and US$21 billion in farm aid.
House lawmakers passed the bill with a bipartisan vote of 359-57.
The last government shutdown, from December 2018 to January 2019, was triggered by an impasse over funding for Trump's proposed US-Mexico border wall. It lasted for 35 days, the longest on record.
The stopgap funding measure came as Democratic and Republican lawmakers remain deadlocked over the next COVID-19 relief package, which is much needed to salvage an economy reeling from the pandemic.
Pelosi and Mnuchin resumed their talks earlier this week over a US$2.2-trillion relief package newly proposed by House Democrats, a scaled-back package of a US$3.4-trillion proposal the Democratic-held House passed in May.
Some Senate Republicans have signaled they're not willing to support any package that costs over US$1.5 trillion. Sticking points include more aid for state and local government and liability protections for businesses.