Just one day before the start of fiscal year (FY) 2022, President Joe Biden signed a continuing resolution (CR, H.R. 5305) into law on Sept. 30 that extends FY 2021 government funding levels through Dec. 3.
The Senate amended and passed a House-approved version of the CR by a vote of 65-35 on Sept. 30 before sending it back to the House to approve the revised measure by a vote of 254-175.
Democratic leaders removed language from the original CR, which was opposed by Republicans, that would have suspended the debt ceiling until Dec. 16, 2022. [refer to Washington Highlights, Sept. 24]. The amended CR maintained language allowing the National Institutes of Health to provide no-cost extensions to specific multiyear grants that were negatively impacted by the pandemic, as well as funds for disaster aid, the resettlement of Afghan refugees, and assistance for unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Democrats have not yet laid out a plan to address the debt ceiling following Republican opposition and testimony from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, PhD, indicating that the government would default on its loans by mid-October without congressional action.
Senate Republicans have urged Democrats to include text to raise the debt ceiling in the budget reconciliation proposal approved by the House Budget Committee on Sept. 25 [refer to related story]. Democrats have rejected this option thus far, arguing that the debt ceiling should be addressed in a bipartisan fashion rather than through reconciliation, which will likely be supported only by Democrats.