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

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs