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Capitol Report: Senate Democrats tee up bill that would just prevent government shutdown

The Democratic-run Senate is expected to vote Thursday on legislation that would just avoid a partial government shutdown by keeping the federal government funded into early December.

“Tomorrow, the Senate will vote on legislation to prevent a needless shutdown, provide long-sought emergency funding to help Americans still reeling from natural disasters, and provide funding to help re-settle Afghan refugees,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat, tweeted Wednesday evening.

In a floor speech earlier in the day, Schumer said of the bill: “We can approve this measure quickly and send it to the House, so it can reach the president’s desk before funding expires at midnight tomorrow.”

Republican senators have blocked a House-passed bill that would prevent a shutdown but also would raise the federal borrowing limit, putting pressure on Democrats to deliver a measure that only would address a shutdown.

Top House Democrats had been suggesting that exactly such a measure was in the works, with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer saying Tuesday that his chamber’s leaders were talking to the Senate about that.

Read: Here’s what would happen if Washington doesn’t prevent a government shutdown

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, has argued repeatedly that Democratic lawmakers ought to go it alone to lift the debt limit through a process known as budget reconciliation, similar to how they’re working to pass a $3.5 trillion spending plan without GOP votes. Democrats have maintained that the increase should happen through a standard process and draw bipartisan support, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat, saying it’s paying “the Trump credit card.”

Related: Congress must raise or suspend debt limit by Oct. 18, Yellen says

And see: What happens if the U.S. defaults on its debt?

Meanwhile, Pelosi and other top Democrats also are facing pressure from progressive colleagues who say they won’t support a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that has passed the Senate unless the party’s $3.5 trillion package moves ahead in tandem.

See: Pelosi signals House vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill may not occur Thursday

Also read: Here’s what’s in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the House aims to pass — and how it’s paid for

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