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U.S. Democrats tee up spending extension to avoid shutdown

2022-12-13T19:06:03Z

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer walks at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Michael Mccoy

Top Democrats said on Tuesday they planned to pass legislation to keep the U.S. government operating past the end of the week, as Congress rushes to bang out a year-end spending bill and avoid a damaging shutdown.

Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, said he expects to pass a one-week extension on Wednesday or Thursday.

“We have no intention of shutting down the government of the United States, which is costly and harmful in almost every respect,” Hoyer told reporters.

The House Rules Committee said it would consider the measure on Tuesday, clearing the way for a floor vote.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said his chamber should be ready to vote on the extension, as negotiations continue between Democrats and Republicans over the longer-term measure.

A year-long measure – expected to allow more than $1.5 trillion in spending – would fund the government until October 2023 and would have to be passed by the House and the Senate.

Schumer said he expects that bill to include more funding for Ukraine and measures to reform the way Congress certifies presidential elections.

Both parties agree on support for Ukraine in the war with Russia and reforms aimed at avoiding a repeat of the turmoil of Jan. 6, 2021, Schumer said. He said negotiations continue on other matters.

Republicans want to increase defense spending while avoiding an increase in domestic spending, an approach Democrats oppose. Some Republicans want to delay action until next year when they take control of the House.

They could also opt to extend current funding levels through the rest of the fiscal year.

Leaders of both parties have opposed such a measure, saying it would dangerously shortchange national security programs.

“There’s a lot of work left to do,” Schumer said. “But we’re optimistic that if we preserve the good faith we’ve seen so far, we will get there.”