Congress passed a stopgap funding bill late on Saturday with overwhelming Democratic support after Republican House speaker Kevin McCarthy backed down from an earlier demand by his party’s hardliners for a partisan bill.
The Democratic-majority Senate voted 88-9 to pass the measure to avoid the federal government’s fourth partial shutdown in a decade, sending it to President Joe Biden to sign into law before the 12:01 a.m. ET deadline.
McCarthy abandoned party hardliners’ insistence that any bill pass the chamber with only Republican votes, a change that could cause one of his far-right members to try to oust him from his leadership role.
The House voted 335-91 to fund the government through Nov. 17, with more Democrats than Republicans supporting it.
That move marked a profound shift from earlier in the week, when a shutdown looked all but inevitable. A shutdown would mean that most of the government’s four million employees would not get paid—whether they were working or not—and also would shutter a range of federal services, from National Parks to financial regulators.
“The American people can breathe a sigh of relief: there will be no government shutdown tonight,” Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote. “Democrats have said from the start that the only solution for avoiding a shutdown is bipartisanship, and we are glad Speaker McCarthy has finally heeded our message.”
Some 209 Democrats supported the bill, far more than the 126 Republicans who did so, and Democrats described the result as a win.