Congress avoids government shutdown after party leaders resolve GOP deadlock on vaccine mandate


The final tally in the Senate was 69-28.

Passing the interim bill ahead of the midnight Friday deadline ended a deadlock that had threatened to trigger a shutdown when a small number of Republican senators who opposed President Joe’s vaccine requirements Biden had considered the possibility of suspending a quick vote on the fundraising bill.

To break the deadlock, the two sides agreed to hold votes on the interim bill as well as a GOP amendment to ban the use of federal funding for Covid-19 vaccine mandates, which ultimately have failed.

Earlier Thursday, the House passed a continuing resolution to fund the government until February 18.

The final vote was 221-212. Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger was the only Republican to join Democrats in voting for the resolution.

Negotiators from both sides announced a plan Thursday morning that would prevent a disruption in funding. But due to Senate rules governing procedure, all 100 senators had to agree to swiftly pass the plan by Friday, an outcome it was not clear could be locked down until late in the day, when the party leaders announced that an agreement had been reached.

Some GOP objections to the vaccine’s mandate

A group of Senate Republicans had threatened throughout the week to delay passage of the continuing budget resolution on the Biden administration‘s rule that requires companies with 100 or more employees to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or undergo regular testing and wear face masks in the workplace.

But in the vote, the Senate did not approve a GOP amendment that would ban the use of federal funds to implement or enforce vaccine mandates for Covid-19, including for large corporations, workers in the federal health and the military. The vote count was 50-48.

Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah addressed the Senate ahead of the amendment vote related to vaccine requirements.

“We are going to be able to vote on whether or not we are funding the implementation of the vaccine mandate at the federal level,” Lee said in his ground remarks ahead of the vote.

Other Republican senators rant over possible shutdown

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had predicted throughout the week that there would be no closure.

And many Republican senators told CNN before a deal cleared the way for a vote to be concluded that they were frustrated that a handful of their members could cause a brief hiatus – a fight they see as impossible. win in Congress.

“We suggested very strongly to them that this was not the right direction,” said Senator Mike Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota. “But they have the right.

Rounds also criticized the Senate leadership in both parties for allowing the struggle for funding to continue until the last minute, giving any senator power to derail the action.

“As long as leaders allow themselves and the rest of us to be stuck, individual senators will be able to do so,” Rounds said. “We have to do our job on time. It does not show that we are stable. And it is a terrible example – not just for the citizens of this country – but also for the rest of the world.”

Agreement announced earlier Thursday

Earlier Thursday, House Appropriations Committee chair Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut, announced the funding plan, which would run until February 18.

Regardless of the issue of vaccines, Democrats had only wanted to extend funding in January, a concession acknowledged by DeLauro in his statement.

“To push for an omnibus, the RC includes virtually no changes in funding or existing policy (anomalies),” DeLauro said in the announcement. However, Democrats prevailed by including $ 7 billion for evacuees from Afghanistan. The end date is Feb. 18. While I wish it was earlier, this deal allows the award process to credits to move forward to a final funding agreement that meets the needs of the American people. “

The Biden administration released a statement Thursday morning saying it “strongly urges swift passage” of the resolution continue to fund the government until Feb. 18.

This story and the title were updated with further development on Thursday.

CNN’s Annie Grayer, Lauren Fox, Betsy Klein, Daniella Diaz and Sonnet Swire contributed to this report.