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Deal reached to keep government open through mid-February, but shutdown risk remains in Senate

Top House and Senate lawmakers announced agreements to head off a government shutdown this weekend, but a group of senators could still object, heightening uncertainty ahead of a Friday deadline.

House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, announced an agreement to fund the federal government through Feb. 18. Without such a stopgap budget, the government would partially shut down after midnight Friday. The measure also includes $7 billion for Afghanistan refugees.

A vote in the House is expected on Thursday.

It’s unclear how the measure will fare in the Senate, where a group of GOP conservatives has been planning to object to quick consideration of such a stopgap budget without an agreement to deny money to enforce the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for large companies.

Read more: Biden administration asks court to allow employee vaccine mandate

And see: Congress faces shutdown deadline, hurdles for Biden’s Build Back Better plan

Republicans are not united in threatening a shutdown. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said Wednesday “I think we’re going to be OK,” when asked about the prospect of a shutdown. Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said he and McConnell had agreed to keep the government funded through mid-February.

U.S. stocks traded higher on Thursday morning, in what has become an increasingly volatile market resulting in uncertainty over the spread of coronavirus and a fuzzy path for monetary policy and the U.S. economy.

Related News  Dow skids 200 points lower early Thursday as investors absorb data, rising COVID-19 cases in aftermath of worst day in 2 weeks

The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
+1.31%

 was recently up 1.3%, while the S&P 500 index
SPX,
+0.87%

 added 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite Index
COMP,
+0.13%

rose 0.6%.

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