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Saturday, January 22, 2022

US avoids gov’t shutdown as Senate passes stopgap funding bill

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The Senate averted a government shutdown that would have thrown President Biden’s agenda into limbo when Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) struck a deal late Thursday with conservative Senate Republicans to fund the government until February.

The last-minute deal gives senators some hope that Congress isn’t completely dysfunctional and that another imminent standoff over raising the nation’s debt limit can be resolved in the same way without much carnage.

In the end, senators on both sides of the aisle realized that a government shutdown — even a temporary one — would anger the public and both parties would wind up taking the blame.

Schumer seemed relieved to announce Thursday night that a crisis had been averted.

“I’m happy to let the American people know the government remains open,” he said on the floor with a smile on his face, getting some light applause from the few senators still in the chamber at 9:30 p.m.

Democrats privately conceded that a government shutdown was the last thing Biden needed when he’s struggling with an approval rating in the low 40s and wrestling with the new threat posed by the omicron variant.

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