Senate Approves Last-Minute Spending Bill

Posted Dec 15, 2016 by
Mike W.

On Friday December 9th, 2016, the Senate voted on a Spending Bill resulting in a passing 63-36 vote. This vote could have ended in a U.S. government shutdown for the 19th time in U.S. history. Government shutdowns occur as the result of many different scenarios. The Executive Branch may fail to pass funding to government operations and agencies resulting in a “funding gap.” It can also occur if Congress passes a funding bill, sends it to the President, and the President vetoes the bill. The first government shut down occurred in 1976, when President Ford vetoed a funding bill for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW). Congress rejected the veto, causing the government to close for ten days.  

During Friday’s vote, some senators threatened to prevent a vote due to the timing of a provision to provide health care to retired coal miners, but they relented with just hours to spare. If they had refused to back down, the federal government would have surely closed. Even with a potential shutdown, the White House would have allowed the federal government to function normally with the technical lapse. Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., stated that the possibility of furloughing federal workers was enough to allow the continuing resolution (CR) vote to go through. “As someone who’s got a lot of federal employees, we are not going to shut down the government on this issue,” Warner announced Friday evening. The article from Government Executive by Eric Katz, stated that President Obama is expected to sign the CR to avoid the appropriations lapse keeping the federal government open through April 28, 2017.

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