Chuck Schumer Is Seeking Deal for Quick Senate Vote to Avoid Shutdown

(Bloomberg) -- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he’s working to speed consideration of a plan to avert a US government shutdown, with a vote possible as soon as Wednesday.

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Schumer, a Democrat, said he hopes to have an agreement with Republicans “very soon” on timing for a Senate vote on interim funding to keep open the government beyond a shutdown deadline late Friday evening.

There’s broad support in the Senate across party lines for the temporary funding, already passed by the House. But a single senator has the power to force a short shutdown by using cumbersome procedural rules to delay a vote.

Some conservatives, including Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, are unhappy with the interim measure because it doesn’t include any immediate funding cuts for government agencies. In the past, Paul has delayed temporary funding bills to seek concessions.

Read more: House Approves Spending Plan, Easing Risk of Government Shutdown

Senator John Thune, the second-ranking Republican leader, said members are close to a unanimous agreement to vote on Wednesday. He said the only holdout is Paul, who he said wants to vote on an amendment first.

“We should be able to accommodate that,” Thune said.

The short-term measure initially proposed by House Speaker Mike Johnson would keep some government agencies operating through Jan. 19 and others through Feb. 2. The measure doesn’t include emergency aid for Ukraine or Israel — top priorities for Senate leaders in both parties and the White House.

Moody’s Investors Service, the only major credit grader still to give US sovereign debt a top rating, on Friday lowered the US’s credit-rating outlook to negative from stable. Moody’s cited increasing risks to the country’s fiscal strength and specifically pointed political polarization in Congress.

(Updates with Thune comments beginning with fifth paragraph.)

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