The Senate voted on Thursday to approve a short-term extension of government funding that would keep the government from shutting down at the end of the week. The bill was passed by a vote of 72 to 25 from both parties.
The government's money is supposed to run out on Friday at midnight, but the stopgap bill will continue until December 16. Instead, this could set up a fight over money at the end of the year.
After the Senate approves the bill, it will need to be passed by the House before it can be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed.
Lawmakers have said they are sure there won't be a shutdown, but it has become common for Congress to miss funding deadlines in the past few years.
Part of the reason is that when time is tight, it's easier for the two sides to make deals at the last minute to avoid a shutdown.
This time, neither party wants to be blamed for a shutdown, especially so close to the important midterm elections in November, when control of Congress is at stake, and both Democrats and Republicans are trying to convince voters that they should be in the majority. Lawmakers running for re-election are also eager to finish their work on Capitol Hill to campaign in their home states.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday afternoon that there will be no roll call votes in the Senate until after the midterm elections in November. This shows how much lawmakers want to spend time campaigning.
Along with money to keep government agencies running, the short-term funding bill introduced earlier this week gives about $12 billion to Ukraine to help it fight Russia's invasion of the country. The Pentagon would have to report on how US dollars have been spent in Ukraine. Both Democrats and Republicans want to help Ukraine.
The continuing resolution would also add five years to an FDA user fee program that was set to end.
This week, the Senate took a key vote to move the government funding bill forward. This was done after West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin dropped a request to include a controversial proposal to change how permits are given. Both conservatives and liberals had sharply criticized this proposal.
The plan would have sped up getting permits and environmental reviews for energy projects, like a big pipeline going through West Virginia, Manchin's home state. Senate Democrats had been trying to get it passed along with funding for the government as part of a deal to get Manchin's support for the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act, which passed over the summer and was a top priority for the party.
But Republicans said they would vote against tying permitting reform to the funding extension, partly because they didn't want to thank Manchin for supporting the Inflation Reduction Act.
At the same time, some of the more liberal Democrats in the Senate had voiced concerns about the environment.