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Senate approves stopgap funding measure to avoid government shutdown

Washington — The Senate on Thursday approved a short-term measure to keep federal agencies operating through mid-December and provide Ukraine with more than $12 billion in economic and military aid as the country continues to defend itself from Russia's aggression.

The stopgap bill, known as a continuing resolution, cleared the upper chamber 72 to 25 and maintains current funding levels for the federal government through Dec. 16. The legislation now head to the House ahead of a Friday night deadline to avert a partial government shutdown and then to President Biden's desk for his signature. 

House Republican leaders are urging their members to oppose the short-term funding bill, though it's still expected to pass the Democrat-led chamber.

Democratic appropriators in the House and Senate unveiled the 237-page continuing resolution late Monday, which initially included a proposal from Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, to accelerate federal environment reviews of energy and natural resource projects.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had promised Manchin a vote on the permitting reform plan this year in exchange for his support for a climate, health care and tax package that delivered on Mr. Biden's key priorities.

But Manchin's permitting measure ran up against opposition from fellow Democrats and Republicans, and he asked Schumer to pull the plan from the legislative package, clearing the way for its advancement in the Senate.

In addition to providing $12.3 billion in assistance to Ukraine, the legislation also includes $1 billion to help families with heating and cooling costs amid high consumer prices, $2.5 billion to assist New Mexico with recovery from the latest wildfire to hit the state and $20 million in emergency funding for water and infrastructure improvements in Jackson, Mississippi.

The plan did not include the Biden administration's request for more funding for its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and monkeypox outbreak.

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