The Senate is set to hold a key vote on Tuesday to take government funding at risk of failing on a deal struck by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin that has come under heavy criticism from Republicans and Liberals — a setback that could be enough to sink the vote and push Congress to the brink of closure.
Lawmakers are still expected to pass a short-term funding extension by the end of the week, but they’ll likely hit the midnight Friday deadline when the funding expires.
The Senate is on track for a vote Tuesday night on whether to open a debate on a funding expansion measure, but an effort to attach an authorizing reform proposal to Manchin has put the vote in jeopardy.
Senators released the legislative text of the interim funding bill overnight.
In addition to money to keep government agencies afloat, he is providing about $12 billion to Ukraine as it continues to face a Russian military attack, and would demand accountability from the Pentagon for how US dollars were spent there. Aid to Ukraine is a bipartisan priority, and lawmakers are also eager to finish work on funding the government to return home ahead of November’s high-stakes midterm elections.
The continuing resolution would also extend an expiring FDA user fee program for five years.
The proposal would speed up the permitting and environmental review process for energy projects — including a major pipeline that would run through Manchin’s home state of West Virginia. Senate Democratic leaders are pushing to pass it with government funding following a deal struck to secure Manchin’s support for the Democrats’ controversial Cut Inflation Act – a key priority for the party – which was adopted over the summer.
But Republicans warn they will vote against the effort to tie permit reform to expanded funding because they don’t want to reward Manchin for supporting the Cut Inflation Act.
Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he would vote against the measure because of its inclusion of the Manchin plan.
“We have made significant progress towards an ongoing resolution that is as clean as possible. But if Democrats insist on including the authorization for reform, I will oppose it,” he said in a statement.
At the same time, some liberal members of the Senate Democratic caucus have expressed concern over the environmental impacts. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is urging his colleagues to oppose what he describes as a “big oil side deal”.
If Tuesday’s Senate vote fails to clear the 60-vote threshold needed to pass, then Senate Democrats could be forced to withdraw the authorization proposal and advance a funding extension without it.
Manchin last week released legislative text for his permissions reform proposal that he wants to see included in the continuing resolution — and now the West Virginia senator is pushing for 60 votes to advance both the licensing reform and the extension of government funding.
A Manchin aide told CNN the senator “worked on the phone all weekend” and got several more Republican votes.
“He still believes there’s a path to 60. This moment won’t happen again, and he keeps reminding his colleagues of that,” the aide said.
This story has been updated with additional developments.