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House passes stopgap bill to avoid government shutdown

The House of Representatives kickstarted the process for another short-term government funding bill to avoid a shutdown while negotiations continue on an omnibus bill.
J. Scott Applewhite
The House of Representatives kickstarted the process for another short-term government funding bill to avoid a shutdown while negotiations continue on an omnibus bill.

Updated February 8, 2022 at 6:23 PM ET

The House of Representatives has passed a stopgap bill to avoid a government shutdown and buy Congress more time to strike a deal to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

The House approved the continuing resolution, 272-162, to fund the government through March 11.

House Appropriations Chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who introduced the bill on Monday, described it as a mechanism to keep the government "up and running while Congress completes our important work."

Congress now has an extra three weeks to finalize negotiations on an omnibus package for fiscal year 2022.

"The continuing resolution passed by the House today reflects our Majority's determination to ensure that the work of government is not disrupted by a shutdown," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a statement after the vote. "We cannot, however, simply allow the government to operate under last year's funding levels for the remainder of the 2022 Fiscal Year."

Hoyer had expressed some frustration over the weekend that it was taking so long to come to agreement on the budget bills.

"We should have passed all 12 appropriation bills to fund the government for this coming fiscal year that we're now in — fiscal year '22 — we should have passed that by Sept. 30," he said on MSNBC. "We didn't. As a result, we needed to CR...and we're now doing an additional one, because we haven't gotten our work done on time."

But he signaled optimism that an overall budget deal is within reach before this next resolution expires.

"I think that we're going to get agreement both on the topline — how much spending is going to be and how it will be spent — but it's not there yet," he added.

The resolution heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the chamber will act on this latest temporary government funding measure before the last one runs out on February 18.

"While negotiations on a full-year funding agreement continue, we will in the meantime avoid a pointless and costly government shutdown," Schumer said on the Senate floor on Tuesday. "This CR provides a little more time to reach a deal for a spending package. It is the responsible and prudent path forward that eliminates the risk of a shutdown."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said passing the temporary funding measure is "an obvious, commonsense step."

But he also highlighted three issues important to the GOP. The first is parity for defense spending — meaning equal percentage increases in defense and nondefense spending. Democrats are pushing for a larger increase in the latter. Republicans also want to keep in longstanding policy riders, such as the Hyde Amendment, a longstanding ban on federal funding for most abortions, as well as ensure "partisan poisons pills" are kept out of the deal.

This is thethird time Congress has passed a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government running since the fiscal year began in October.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Barbara Sprunt
Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.