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House passes stopgap government funding bill to avert shutdown

By Clare Foran, CNN

The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to pass a short-term government funding bill to avert a shutdown at the end of next week.

Funding is currently set to expire on February 18, but the measure the House approved would extend funding through March 11. The tally was 272-162 and the legislation passed with bipartisan support.

Now that the House has passed the stopgap bill, known as a continuing resolution, the Senate next needs to approve it before it can be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

Passage of the measure by both chambers would mark the latest in a string of short-term funding bills Congress has passed as lawmakers work on a bipartisan basis to secure a full-year funding agreement.

There is bipartisan agreement that a broader funding deal is necessary as well as bipartisan concern over the limitations imposed on federal entities if the government is forced to continue operating under stopgap funding measures, especially at a crucial time for both domestic and foreign policy amid the Covid-19 pandemic and growing fears over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday ahead of the House vote that he intends to have the Senate take up the bill.

“While negotiations on a full year funding agreement continue, we will, in the meantime, avoid a pointless and costly government shutdown,” Schumer said, adding that the stopgap bill “provides a little more time to reach a deal for a spending package.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he is optimistic that Democrats and Republicans are getting closer to reaching a funding deal agreement, known as the omnibus, and that it can be put on the floor as soon as the week of March 7.

“We are, I think, close to an agreement,” Hoyer told reporters.

House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro said in a statement introducing the stopgap bill that the “country needs a government funding agreement to create good-paying jobs, grow opportunity for the middle class, and protect our national security.”

“We are close to reaching a framework government funding agreement, but we will need additional time to complete the legislation in full,” the Connecticut Democrat said, adding that the stopgap bill will “keep government up and running while Congress completes our important work.”

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

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CNN’s Annie Grayer and Ali Zaslav contributed to this report.

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