News / USA

Senate Passes Funding Bill, Puts Pressure on House

(L-R) U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) hold a news conference after the Senate voted to pass a spending bill at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sept. 27, 2013.
(L-R) U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) hold a news conference after the Senate voted to pass a spending bill at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sept. 27, 2013.
Cindy Saine
— In a high stakes budget battle, the U.S. Senate has passed a bill to keep funding the federal government, stripping out a provision pushed by House Republicans to cut off funds for President Obama's health care law.  The amdended bill now goes back to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, putting pressure on House Speaker John Boehner to take action before a midnight Monday deadline to avert a partial government shutdown.

As the Pentagon and other government agencies prepare for a possible shutdown Tuesday, the Senate has passed a funding bill that would keep the government running, without defunding the health care law.  The final vote approving the "clean" spending measure was 54 to 44.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (C) and Senator Mike Lee (2nd R) speak to reporters about their opposition after the Senate passed a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, at the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 27, 2013.U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (C) and Senator Mike Lee (2nd R) speak to reporters about their opposition after the Senate passed a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, at the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 27, 2013.
x
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (C) and Senator Mike Lee (2nd R) speak to reporters about their opposition after the Senate passed a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, at the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 27, 2013.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (C) and Senator Mike Lee (2nd R) speak to reporters about their opposition after the Senate passed a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, at the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 27, 2013.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz led the fight on the Senate side to derail the federal funding measure unless it stopped funding for the president's landmark health care reform law passed four years ago.  Senator Cruz said the battle will continue, and called on House Republicans not to give in to pressure to avert a shutdown.

"But the good news is the process is not over," he said. "It is going to go back to the House of Representatives, and I salute the House for having had the courage to stand up and fight and defund Obamacare.  And I remain confident, hopeful and optimistic the House will stand their ground, and will continue the fight."

Senate Democrats accused a group of the most conservative Republican lawmakers of recklessly endangering U.S. and world financial stability by tying routine measures such as funding the government and raising the debt ceiling to their fight against an increased federal role in health care, backed by Democrats.  

"These radicals in the House and Senate have driven America from crisis to crisis," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "We lurch from crisis to crisis leaving a trail of economic destruction behind."

What Does a U.S. Government Shutdown Mean?

  • Large parts of the federal government need to be funded each year to operate
  • If Congress cannot agree on how to fund them, those parts of the government shut down
  • During a shutdown, federal workers are separated into excepted and non-excepted employees
  • Excepted must continue to work, and will be paid when Congress funds the government again
  • Non-excepted are furloughed and not guaranteed to receive back-pay
  • Parts of the government dealing with national security and public safety and those with independent funding like the Postal Service continue to operate
  • Other parts shut down, including National Parks, the EPA and the processing of visa and passport applications
  • The last government shutdown lasted 21 days and ended on January 6, 1996
Now the spotlight shifts back to the House side, where House Republicans must decide what to do next on the temporary funding bill, known as a "CR."  Republican House Speaker John Boehner has repeatedly had problems getting a group of about 40 of his most conservative members to go along with compromises on must-pass legislation. Boehner faces two imminent challenges: first, avoiding the shutdown; and second, raising the national debt ceiling, which the Treasury says needs to happen by October 17. Boehner will likely need Democratic votes to pass the measures.  

Democratic House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi indicated that Democrats are willing to compromise with Republicans on the CR to fund the government.

"Don't expect us to be helpful when it comes to the debt ceiling, because we don't think that is negotiable," she said. "But let's' see what we can do working together for the CR [continuing resolution to fund the government]."

But Democrats, including President Obama, have made clear the debt ceiling must be raised, and they will not negotiate with Republicans who want to attach other measures to it.  The House will meet on Saturday, but it is not yet clear when they will vote on a measure to fund the government, just three days ahead of the shutdown deadline.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid