Senate A**hole Caucus Folds, Government Shutdown Averted!
Huzzay! After several days of Republican senators huffing and puffing and threatening to force a government shutdown over Joe Biden's vaccine mandates, the Senate last night passed a bill to temporarily fund the government for 11 weeks, meaning that government won't be furloughing "nonessential" employees or closing down any agency websites tonight at midnight. Heck, with climate change causing weirdly mild temperatures in much of the country, you might could even go camping in some national parks if you want. or at least they won't be shutting down.
The continuing resolution to keep the government funded at current levels passed easily, on a 69-28 vote, and will give lawmakers until the third week of February to pass the new spending packages needed for the 2022 fiscal year, which started at the beginning of October. If the bills aren't passed by the new deadline, we'd be looking at a shutdown or another stopgap spending bill then.
Instead of shutting down the government in a futile effort to roll back the OSHA vaccine mandates, Senate leadership allowed the pro-coronavirus Republicans to hold a futile vote last night on an amendment to roll back the mandates. The amendment, by Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Roger Marshall of Kansas, would have defunded Biden's policies requiring vaccinations for federal workers and the military, and the OSHA order requiring vaccinations or weekly testing for employees of businesses with 100 or more workers. It failed on a 48-50 vote.
Despite some rumblings yesterday that Sen Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) might join Republicans in voting to repeal the vaccine mandates, he ended up voting with the rest of the Senate Dems to defeat the amendment. The two missing votes came from — or didn't come from — Republicans John Thune of South Dakota and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said in a floor speech before the vote that he was
glad that in the end cooler heads prevailed. [...] The government will stay open. And I thank the members of this chamber for walking us back from the brink of an avoidable, needless and costly shutdown.
In addition to keeping the government running, the bill also includes an extra $7 billion in funding for resettlement of Afghan refugees that had been added in the House by Wonkette fave Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut).
Now, Congress still has a very busy December ahead of it, in which it'll have to deal with the stupid-ass debt ceiling, pass the annual Defense Authorization bill, and most important, pass the Build Back Better reconciliation bill, which includes the bulk of Joe Biden's first-term agenda.
Politico points out that the push to get full government funding passed by February could still be a big pain in the ass due to Republicans' ritualistic obstructionism, which goes well past their opposition to the unconstitutional presence of a Democrat in the White House.
There's also the problem of billions of dollars in looming cuts to Medicare and farm aid programs that could take effect next year — which the deal reached Thursday does not address. Those scheduled funding decreases are a consequence of the budget reconciliation process used to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package back in March.
Congress typically avoids such cuts with bipartisan ease, but Republicans haven’t been inclined to help while the majority party pursues big spending plans without GOP support. Democrats have pledged to find another legislative vehicle to address the drastic funding reductions next year. But they will still need assistance from at least 10 Senate Republicans, setting up another possible showdown as the GOP focuses on spending and inflation concerns ahead of the 2022 midterms.
We do feel compelled to point out that "spending and inflation concerns" only matter to Republicans when it's not their guy in the Oval Office.
In conclusion, now that we're past the most ridiculous GOP fuckery aimed at prolonging the pandemic, there's still much more ridiculous fuckery to overcome.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.