Lawmakers are in a race against time to pass a temporary spending bill that will extend government funding until early March. This is crucial in order to avoid a partial federal government shutdown by Friday.
The Senate is expected to vote on the extension, referred to as a continuing resolution, shortly after noon today. House lawmakers will follow with their vote later this afternoon.
To prevent federal agencies from shutting down, a bill must be passed and signed by President Joe Biden before midnight on Friday. However, the House voting session scheduled for Friday has been canceled due to the anticipated snowfall in Washington, thus adding a touch of drama to the whole situation.
If approved, the continuing resolution would push back the current Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 deadlines and maintain funding at current levels until March 1 and 8 respectively.
The primary goal behind this measure is to grant members of Congress additional time to finalize a comprehensive spending agreement worth $1.66 trillion. This agreement would fund the government until Sept. 30.
According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), "The Senate will act to pass a bill that will fund the government and avoid an unnecessary shutdown." The intent behind this continuing resolution is to provide Congress with ample time to continue the appropriations process and secure funding for the rest of the fiscal year.
Without these extensions, several departments including Agriculture, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs would face funding expirations on Saturday. These departments oversee crucial benefits such as housing aid and veterans programs.
Furthermore, the extension would also allow the Commerce, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, and State Departments to remain operational beyond Feb. 2.