Bill to prevent government shutdown released by Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats released a short-term government funding bill late Monday that included a measure to expedite permits for energy projects that most Republicans and some Democrats oppose.

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(Bloomberg) – Senate Democrats released a short-term government funding bill late Monday that included a measure to speed up permits for energy projects that most Republicans and some Democrats oppose.

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Congress must pass the measure by midnight Friday to avoid a government shutdown. Leaders of both parties in the Senate are eager to avoid this chaotic outcome just over a month before the midterm elections. But the permit legislation proposed by Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, adds a little extra drama with the deadline approaching.

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The odds of a government shutdown are quite low because Congress can still remove the authorization measure if senators block the funding bill on it.

The Senate plans to hold a procedural vote on the bill, which would keep government open after the November election until Dec. 16, Tuesday evening.

The bill would provide $12.4 billion to Ukraine to aid in its war effort against Russia, slightly more than the $11.7 billion requested by the Biden administration. It would also authorize the Biden administration to transfer up to an additional $3.7 billion in US defense equipment to Ukraine.

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The bill would provide $2 billion for unmet needs from recent disasters and $1 billion to boost home heating assistance.

Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration would be allowed to collect user fees for five years, avoiding a funding shortfall that threatens layoffs. The bill provides funds to help resettle Afghan refugees, but does not provide the easier path to permanent residency that advocates had sought.

Senate Democratic leaders included the Manchin-drafted permit provision in the interim bill as part of a deal to secure his vote on a climate and tax bill in August. The text would also greenlight federal approval of Equitrans Midstream Corp’s $6.6 billion pipeline. who crosses his State of origin.

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Still, Manchin has yet to line up the 60 votes for his bill required by Senate rules and has spent days pleading with Republicans to accept a compromise version of the changes allowing fossil fuel projects they have been defending for years. He received support from the other senator from West Virginia, Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican.

But other Republicans have little interest in voting for Manchin’s bill, which they see as a reward for his role in helping Democrats win President Joe Biden’s climate legislation.

« It’s the most important thing we can do today, and it’s the most critical issue we have before us, which is energy independence and energy security, » Manchin said Sunday on Fox News. . « It would basically be a lost moment in history if we didn’t. »

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Manchin also faces opposition from progressives, with Vermont independent Bernie Sanders vowing to vote against the interim bill and others hinting they might as well. Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine is furious with the pipeline provision given northern Virginia’s opposition to its completion.

“We have made significant progress towards an ongoing resolution that is as clean as possible. But, if Democrats insist on including the authorization for reform, I will oppose it,” Republican Richard Shelby of Alabama said in a statement.

If the bill fails to win 60 votes in the Senate on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to remove the authorization language and try again. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week that if the Senate stalls, the House is ready to vote on a streamlined interim bill to avoid a shutdown.

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To win Republican support, the bill does not include the $22 billion in funding to fight Covid-19 sought by the Biden administration or the request for $4 billion to fight monkeypox. The GOP had argued that following Biden’s declaration of the coronavirus pandemic « over, » they would be unwilling to provide more emergency funding for it and cuts would have to be made elsewhere to fund the efforts. future.

House Appropriations Speaker Rosa DeLauro urged Congress to pass the bill, though she said she was saddened that the manchin power supply was included when the coronvavirus funds were not. not.

“Despite these shortcomings, the ongoing resolution still provides critical resources to our communities and national security. And with just four days to go until the end of the fiscal year, the government remains open. I urge my colleagues in both chambers to move quickly to pass this legislation,” DeLauro said.

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The spending bill does not include $1.5 billion for emergency uranium purchases requested by the White House to reduce US dependence on Russian uranium, or funds to upgrade the reserve oil strategy.

An interim spending bill is needed because Congress has failed to pass any of the 12 annual appropriation measures to pay for government operations for fiscal year 2023, which begins Oct. 1.

If Republicans win a House majority as expected midterm, the party will face pressure to delay final 2023 spending decisions until the new Congress sits in January to give the GOP a chance to pass. its priorities, including internal reduction. Revenue Service budget to decrease tax audits.

(Updates with DeLauro statement, starting at 16th paragraph.)



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