After facing a series of delays, the Senate approved by voice vote a one-week temporary funding measure Friday afternoon to avert a government shutdown hours before a critical deadline.
The president signed the bill Friday evening. Without it, federal agencies would have run out of money at midnight Friday.
The Senate’s move came as Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, relented on his demands to first a vote first on a measure to allow direct payments to Americans.
“I am not one of the members of the Senate who shuts down, does this or does that and keeps people for weekends, I don’t do that,” Sanders said on the Senate floor ahead of the voice vote.
The effort de-escalates a highly dramatic scene raised in the Senate overnight, creating worries that a sequence of fights among various members could trigger a shutdown.
However, Sanders said he’ll raise his demands again when the stopgap measure, also known as a continuing resolution, is set to expire in one week. And he said Congress should not go home for the holidays without addressing coronavirus relief aid.