Politics Explained

Joe Biden has to be wary of Senate Republicans when it comes to Covid measures

The fact that the US almost ran into a government shutdown shows the power that individuals can wield in an evenly-split Senate, writes Chris Stevenson

Friday 03 December 2021 21:30 GMT
Night falls at the Capitol in Washington
Night falls at the Capitol in Washington (AP)

Yet again, the US Congress has avoided a possible government shutdown at the last minute with both the House of Representatives and Senate voting through a stopgap bill to extend funding through to the middle of February.

It is not the first time in recent years that political stalemate has pushed Congress to the brink of a shutdown (two occurred during the term of former president Donald Trump) – but this particular close call was linked to Covid-19 measures.

With the funding bill passing the house, a small group of Republican senators, Mike Lee, of Utah, Ted Cruz, of Texas, and Roger Marshall, of Kansas, sought to delay the bill if funding to enforce Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates was included. The amendment failed 50-48 in a partisan vote and then the funding bill passed 69-28, with 19 Republicans supporting it.

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