On Thursday, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) bill that will keep the federal government funded until February 18th. The vote was 221-212 in the House and 69-28 in the Senate, with the Senate first rejecting an amendment that would have barred private-sector vaccine mandates. The funding bill will head to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature well ahead of the midnight deadline on Friday. By funding the government into next year, Democrats hope to allow time in December to pass the Build Back Better Act, along with raising the debt limit.
Regarding debt limit negotiations, Senators Schumer and McConnell have both expressed confidence that they can reach a deal within the next week. McConnell has repeatedly expressed a desire for Democrats to raise the debt limit through the budget reconciliation process, which would first require passing a new budget resolution or amending the current one, then passing a reconciliation bill with votes from 50 Democrats. However, going through the required Reconciliation process could take weeks and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has stated that the U.S. Treasury cannot guarantee the timely payment of obligations after December 15th. The continued dialogue between Schumer and McConnell is an encouraging sign that a deal may be reached before that point.