The bill allows extending the work of government agencies until March 11.

The Senate finally approved a bill preventing the shutdown of the federal government, which could happen next weekend. The document has been sent to President Joe Biden for signature. Thus, lawmakers from both parties received additional time to negotiate a deal financing the work of federal agencies until the fall.

The final decision was made by a qualified majority of votes in the Senate – 65 “for” and 27 “against.” To pass the bill, it was necessary to enlist the support of at least 60 senators. The bill was approved in the House of Representatives last week. Both parties came to the conclusion that a government shutdown would be risky in the year of midterm congressional elections, especially against the backdrop of a pandemic and confrontation with Russia.

Nevertheless, Republicans insisted on voting on amendments to the bill, including on one of the most controversial issues of recent times – mandates for vaccination against COVID-19. However, they were defeated along party lines.

Republican Senator Mike Lee and several of his colleagues have introduced an amendment blocking the existing requirements regarding mandatory vaccination for military personnel, federal employees and contractors, as well as for health workers.

Senator Ted Cruz has introduced an amendment to end federal funding for school districts that impose their own vaccination requirements on students.

A separate amendment was introduced by Republicans who demanded to stop federal funding for the program for the distribution of so-called “safe smoking kits,” which include crack smoking pipes. However, this initiative has not been developed, as the Biden administration has stated that it never planned and will not do this. This money is directed to a program to help drug addicts.

Amendments to the bill would cause difficulties, since the House of Representatives has already gone on vacation, and before sending the updated version to the president for signature, it would also need to be approved in the lower house of Congress.

If the Senate had not approved it, federal agencies would have had to stop working this weekend. The bill funds the work of the government until March 11.