Last night, all 100 senators agreed to proceed to a vote on funding the government through mid-February. Then, the Senate voted 69-28 to approve the continuing resolution.
A win for bipartisanship? Hardly.
Instead, it was another prime example of government dysfunction. The Senate has failed to pass any of the 12 annual appropriations bills that fund everything the government does, making the stopgap measure necessary to avert a shutdown. So even passage without drama would have been nothing to praise.
But in addition, several conservative Republicans, going against the will of the party leadership, threatened to force a government shutdown over President Biden’s federal vaccination mandates. They backed down after Senate Majority Leader Schumer agreed to a vote on an amendment to block funding of vaxx mandates, which was defeated.
Schumer said on the floor, “I thank the members of this chamber for walking us back from the brink of an avoidable, needless and costly shutdown.”
Yes, there will be no shutdown — this time. But the Senate is now so broken that any senator can effectively threaten to bring the entire government to a halt. And threatening a shutdown is no joke. Even the three-day shutdown of January 2018 led to the furlough of 693,000 federal employees, while the 35-day shutdown one year later cost the government at least $5 billion.
Senators don’t get credit for speeding head-on into a brick wall then slamming on the breaks at the last second.