Senate Approves Short-Term Spending Bill to Avoid a Shutdown

Senate Approves Short-Term Spending Bill to Avoid a Shutdown


“”I’d like to see us, if we could, take some of this off the table,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. She acknowledged that it was possible that some of the bills, including the one that funds the Department of Homeland Security, could be among the legislation left unresolved by the December deadline.

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee, meanwhile, sent a letter to the committee chairwoman, Representative Nita Lowey, Democrat of New York, voicing concerns that “the House is focused on the purely political exercise of impeaching the president during this critical time for our committee.”

“We hope both parties in the House and the Senate can work together, putting politics aside, to pass full-year appropriations measures that the president can sign into law as quickly as possible,” the lawmakers wrote.

The short-term bill includes additional funds to accommodate the Census Bureau’s preparations for the 2020 survey, a 3.1 percent raise for military pay and language that would stop an automatic cut to highway funds. The measure also contains an extension of funding for community health centers and additional funds to stop the spread of Ebola in Africa.

The measure also provides a 90-day extension of certain government surveillance powers that trace back to the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks. It extends, for example, a law that authorized the N.S.A.’s currently shuttered system for accessing and analyzing American’s domestic phone logs. It also extends three expiring F.B.I. surveillance powers, including one that allows agents working on national security cases to get court orders to obtain relevant business records or to swiftly follow a wiretapping target who changes phones in an attempt to evade surveillance.

In effect, the inclusion of the provisions postpones, for another three months, a contentious debate over government surveillance.

Congress will also have to return to a critical provision that would replenish $255 million for historically black colleges, tribal colleges and higher education institutions that serve Hispanic students to improve science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — over the next two years. The traditionally bipartisan measure was ultimately left out of the stopgap legislation.

Charlie Savage contributed reporting.



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