Senate passes stopgap spending bill, leaves town

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 19, 2014

On its way back to the campaign trail, the Senate last night passed a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running until after the election as well as authorize the administration to arm rebel groups fighting terrorists in the Middle East.

Passing the continuing resolution, 78-22, was one of the Senate’s last orders of business before adjourning until after the midterms. Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, who is running in a tightly contested race, voted against the bill, citing concerns about its language related to the fight against the Islamic State group. Unlike the House, the Senate did not hold a stand-alone vote on the Islamic State provision. A total of 10 Democrats and 12 Republicans opposed the bill, ranging across the ideological spectrum from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

The CR passed the House on Wednesday, 319-108, after an amendment on the Islamic State was added, which passed 273-156. All eight House members in both parties who are seeking Senate seats this fall supported both measures: Reps. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

Within the CR itself are very few changes to existing appropriations law. It makes a few tweaks to keep weather satellite programs funding and allow for continued collection of certain park fees but otherwise maintains spending at an overall annual level of $1.02 trillion through Dec. 11 and keeps in place all existing policy riders.

Both chambers adjourned yesterday and will not return until Nov. 12.