Government shutdown fear grows as House prepares to vote on partisan spending plan

WASHINGTON — With fewer than two days left to fund the federal government and avoid a shutdown, House GOP leaders on Friday began debate ahead of a vote on a partisan, short-term spending bill that has no chance of passing in the Senate.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy pitched the bill as a way for his fellow Republicans to buy time to pass a slate of individual agency spending bills.

“We actually need a stop-gap measure to allow the House to continue to finish its work, to make sure our military gets paid, to make sure our border agents get paid as we finish the job that we’re supposed to do,” McCarthy told reporters.

The bill ostensibly would fund the government through Oct. 31. But it has effectively no chance of passing the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, or of being signed by President Joe Biden.

The Senate easily advanced its own short-term funding bill Thursday by a 76-22 margin. The next vote in that chamber is scheduled for Saturday.

The Senate bill is likely to be amended ahead of Saturday’s vote, and the next version could contain stronger border security measures that House Republicans are demanding.

Missing the Senate vote will be Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who died late Thursday at her home in Washington, D.C.

The government is scheduled to shut down at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday if a funding bill is not approved by Congress and signed into law by Biden.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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