Senate reaches funding deal but misses midnight deadline on government shutdown – Washington Examiner

The federal government headed for a brief shutdown after senators failed to advance a $1.2 trillion funding package by Friday’s midnight deadline, but a deal has been struck.

The House of Representatives passed the legislation Friday morning, giving the Senate just over 12 hours to potentially vote on the matter before objecting lawmakers derailed attempts to expedite a vote.

At 11:42 p.m. Friday, Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took to the Senate floor to announce a deal to move forward with votes, indicating the lapse in funding for about 70% of the government would be temporary.

“We have just reached an agreement to complete the job of funding the government,” Schumer said in setting up votes on amendments before the final passage of the bipartisan deal.

The missed shutdown deadline marks the 11th funding lapse for the federal government, though some of those lasted for just a handful of hours. The longest shutdown in U.S. history occurred under former President Donald Trump in the 115th Congress, when disagreements over Trump’s border wall stalled the appropriations process and saw federal employees furloughed for 35 days.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., meets with reporters to discuss efforts to pass the final set of spending bills to avoid a partial government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Impacted federal bodies this time around include the departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, Treasury, Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, the Small Business Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, certain congressional offices, and the federal judiciary.

The Biden administration last published guidelines for shuttering federal agencies in the event of a government shutdown in the fall of last year. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Friday afternoon that the administration was still in the process of finalizing a shutdown contingency plan but that some White House staff would be among the federal employees furloughed over the weekend.

Still, Jean-Pierre had stressed to reporters that Biden believed the Senate could have averted a shutdown.

“Congress can prevent this, this partial shutdown. We believe there’s still time to do that,” she stated during Friday’s press briefing. “So I want to be very clear here. But like every other agency, we are reviewing and updating our contingency plan. This is something that we do regularly, and we’ll have more to share, obviously, once that is finalized.”

“Federal employees, just across the government, we’ll furlough, and that includes White House staff, just to give you a little bit of what that would look like,” Jean-Pierre added.

The House had passed the spending package Friday on a bipartisan basis, prompting Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to bring a motion to vacate against House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA).

Lawmakers were scheduled to depart Washington, D.C. Friday for a 16-day recess, so Johnson will have until April to secure majority backing in the House or be booted from the chair.

Johnson’s predecessor, former Rep. Kevin McCarthy, was also removed from his post last fall after working with Democrats to pass a continuing government funding resolution and working with Biden to cap federal spending levels.

Jean-Pierre told reporters that the White House did not plan to intervene on Johnson’s behalf, and that the administration would defer to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) on the matter.

“We’re not going to get involved. We do not get involved. We’ve been pretty, pretty consistent, regardless if it’s Republicans or Democrats. We’ve been pretty consistent in that,” Jean-Pierre told reporters.


“We trust Hakeem Jeffries’s leadership. He’s the leader of the Democrats. That is for them to decide on. I’m not going to comment on that,” she added. “Democrats are going to make their decision. Democrat leadership, Hakeem Jeffries, is going to make their own decision on how to move forward. We’re going to be consistent here.”