With little fanfare, the Senate voted yesterday 73-26 to send legislation that would avert a government shutdown until September 30th to the House of Representatives. Republicans, who have a majority in the House, will bear most of the responsibility for getting this legislation to President Obama’s desk for signature.
The Wednesday vote comes one week ahead of the deadline, and provides 10 different amendments that seek to dampen the consequences of the sequester cuts that went into effect on March 1st.
The bill will keep government agencies up and running through the end of fiscal year 2013, in a somewhat more bipartisan atmosphere than has been seen in some time, with both parties ostensibly in agreement that a shutdown would have onerous consequences.
The amendments include a transfer of $55 million to the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, so that meatpacking plants will continue to have daily oversight, as well as $250 million for the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program that is vital to lower-income families.
The amendments are still a stop-gap measure, however. For instance, the $250 million for WIC still leaves the program $350 million short of what it had before sequestration, and this is true across the board.
Also included in the bill is some $100 billion in emergency war-funding.
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