The Senate on Friday passed a one-week stopgap funding bill by voice vote to avert a government shutdown at midnight. The bill will next go to President Donald Trump for his signature.
The short-term spending bill would extend government funding by a week to December 18 and is aimed at giving lawmakers more time to reach an agreement on Covid relief and broader funding legislation for a new fiscal year. It passed the House earlier this week.
So far, however, stimulus talks remain at an impasse over critical sticking points, creating uncertainty over whether an agreement can be reached.
Lawmakers now have just one additional week to work out thorny issues that are currently holding up an agreement or potentially witness the collapse of the talks.
A timeline for the stopgap funding bill vote -- and whether it would happen ahead of the critical midnight deadline -- had been uncertain earlier Friday morning amid a series of last-minute holdups. The Senate needed all 100 senators to agree to schedule a vote, and several senators had been making demands that complicated the ability reach an agreement for swift passage.
Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican had been objecting to a quick vote on a defense bill but told CNN Friday morning he would let the stopgap funding bill pass later in the day, explaining that his main point was to delay the Senate's vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, for a day.
In addition, Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders had been demanding a vote on a provision that would give individuals $1,200 stimulus checks.
Before the Senate voted on a continuing resolution to keep the government funded for one week, Sanders and GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri both made impassioned pleas for the chamber to take further action to provide pandemic relief ahead of the holidays.
Sanders said that he would withdraw an objection to the stopgap funding bill today to allow the government to remain open, but threatened that he would not do the same next week.
'I am not one of the members of the Senate who shuts down ... does this and does that, keeps people here for the weekend. ... I don't do that. But this I want to say right now, I am prepared to withdraw my objection at this moment. But I will not be prepared to withdraw an objection next week,' Sanders said.
He continued, 'We will deal with the financial crisis facing tens of millions of Americans. And if I have anything to say about it, and I guess I do, we're not going to go home for the Christmas holidays, unless we make sure that we provide for the millions of families in this country who are suffering.'
This story has been updated with additional developments Friday.