Congress avoided shutting down the federal government by passing the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2016 on September 30, 2015, the last day of federal fiscal year (FFY) 2015. The legislation funds the operations of the government at the level of previous appropriations until December 11, 2015. President Obama signed the bill the same day.
The Senate vote was 78 to 20. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who both seek the Republican Party’s nomination for president in the 2016 election, did not vote. The vote in the House was 277 to 151; 91 Republicans joined the Democrats, with seven members not voting.
The law did not contain any language barring funding for Planned Parenthood, a sticking point that held up the vote on the budget. On September 30, the House of Representatives voted again to terminate federal funding to the provider of reproductive health services; there is no expectation that this bill would pass the Senate.
Negotiations on the budget will continue. If they are not successful, on December 11, Congress will be in the same position as they on September 30, perhaps with some added pressure not to shut down the government during the holiday season. The election of the new Speaker of the House, who will succeed John Boehner, is likely to affect the outcome of the negotiations.