The US Senate has taken a step forward on a bipartisan bill aimed at preventing a government shutdown in just five days, while the House of Representatives seeks to advance a conflicting measure supported only by Republicans.
The Senate voted by 77 votes to 19 in favor of starting discussion of a measure that would fund the government until November 17, and includes about $6 billion to respond to local disasters and almost the same amount in aid to Ukraine.
However, the Republican-controlled House intends to press ahead with its partisan approach, which is unlikely to gain support in the Democratic-majority Senate.
The House held a procedural vote to discuss four spending bills that reflect conservative priorities and have no chance of becoming law.
Even if they become law, these measures only fund part of government spending and won’t prevent closures.
The split between the two chambers suggests the federal government is very likely to shut down for the fourth time in a decade next Sunday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell are seeking bipartisan approval for a short-term extension of federal funding at current levels.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday that he would try to get divided Republicans to approve a bill that would temporarily fund the government.
But he intends to add tough border and immigration restrictions that are unlikely to win the support of enough Democrats in the House and Senate to become law.
Democratic President Joe Biden and McCarthy were aiming to avoid a shutdown this year when they agreed in May on discretionary spending of $1.59 trillion for the fiscal year that begins on October 1, at the end of a standoff over the federal debt ceiling.
The White House urged Republicans to respect this agreement.
But ultra-conservative Republicans reject it and demand another $120 billion in cuts.
Moody’s credit rating agency said on Monday that the US government shutdown would harm its sovereign rating, in a severe warning a month after Fitch lowered the US rating by one notch against the backdrop of the debt ceiling crisis.