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US Senate unveils stopgap bill in bid to avert govt shutdown

The US Senate has unveiled a short-term spending bill that would keep the government open through November 17, with $6.2 billion in funding for Ukraine and $6 billion for domestic disasters, the media reported.

The government funding is scheduled to expire on Saturday.

The Senate took an initial step to advance its bipartisan stopgap bill on Tuesday with a procedural vote of 77 to 19, reports CNN.

As he outlined the Senate’s stopgap proposal, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “We will continue to fund the government at present levels while maintaining our commitment to Ukraine’s security and humanitarian needs, while also ensuring those impacted by natural disasters across the country begin to get the resources they need.”

But on Tuesday night, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy dismissed the bipartisan Senate stopgap measure, and told reporters “let me know” when they pass that bill and added that he had spoken to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell earlier in the day.

McCarthy said the House will consider a separate stopgap bill with border provisions likely on Friday, regardless of whether the Republican leadership is confident the votes were there to pass it.

Now that the Senate has unveiled its own stopgap measure, the chamber will still need to pass it before it can be sent to the House and any one senator can slow passage under tight time constraints.

As the deadline looms, the White House was now “girding for a shutdown” and senior West Wing officials were drawing up plans for which personnel would be deemed “essential” starting on October 1, CNN reported.

Most of President Joe Biden’s senior-most aides are expected to be designated “essential”, meaning they would not be furloughed, according to an administration official said. 

Meanwhile, the President is also planning to remain in Washington this weekend, a relatively rare occurrence as he typically leaves for one of his Delaware homes or Camp David on Friday afternoons.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Tuesday that he would remain in the capital.

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