This vote was on passing a bill that would provide stopgap appropriations funding through Dec. 3, 2010, for most federal agencies and departments. The amendment was offered to a stopgap appropriations bill – known as a “continuing resolution” – intended to bridge the gap between the end of the fiscal year 2010, which ends on Sept. 30, and the beginning of December 2010. This continuing resolution was necessary to keep the government functioning because Congress could not finish its appropriations bills, which must be passed each year. This gave Congress a little bit more time – specifically, through December 3rd -- to finish its appropriations bills.
“Today is September 29, which means that fiscal year 2010 will come to an end tomorrow at midnight. We should all keep that in mind because in order to avoid a government shutdown, the Senate must act now to send this essential legislation to the House of Representatives,” said Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. “I do not believe any of my colleagues wish the Government of the United States to be shut down on Friday, so I am hopeful we can avoid unnecessary amendments and work in a bipartisan fashion to pass this CR [continuing resolution] and send it to the House. Vice Chairman Cochran and I have done our best to ensure that this CR includes only the bare minimum of what is necessary to continue government operations until Members on both sides of the aisle are able to work out their differences and complete action on this year’s appropriations bills.”
Republicans complained that Democrats’ inability to pass all of its appropriations bills indicates a lack of effective governance. They also tried unsuccessfully to offer amendments to trim its total amount of spending, and to extend the bill out into 2011.
“The majority has decided to wait until the very last minute to bring this stopgap measure to the floor with the hope that Members will simply vote yes so that we can all go home and focus on the upcoming elections. I will not be voting yes. I will be voting no. If we pass this resolution, we can be assured that we will be considering yet another massive omnibus spending bill in December. The simple fact that we are considering this continuing resolution is evidence of the majority’s inability to lead effectively and do the people’s business,” said John McCain, R-Ariz. “As I said, we are 1 day from the end of the fiscal year. This body has not considered a single one of the annual appropriations bills on the floor. We have a $13.5 trillion debt and a deficit of nearly $1.4 trillion. Yet we have not debated a single spending bill or considered any amendments that would cut costs or get our debt under control.”
By a vote of 69-30, the bill was passed. All but one Democrat present voted for the bill. Of Republicans present, 11 voted for the bill and 29 voted against it. The end result is that the Senate passed a bill that would provide stopgap appropriations to keep the federal government running through Dec. 3, 2010.