The Senate voted 73-26 late Wednesday afternoon to pass its Continuing Resolution, avoiding a government shutdown and funding operations through Sept. 30.
"This is an important step in breaking from crisis mode in Washington," said Senate Committee on Appropriations Vice Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala. "Chairwoman Mikulski and I set out to prevent a government shutdown, provide flexibility for those implementing budget cuts, and produce a bill that both parties in both chambers can support.
"It is my hope that the tone we set in meeting these objectives for the current fiscal year will carry over to our work on subsequent appropriations bills. We must continue to work together to replace a last minute, shotgun approach to reducing spending with a deliberate, targeted process."
CR saves funding for food safety inspections, though Vilsack says sequester cuts will still be evident
Food safety inspector furloughs averted
An amendment to the CR to close a funding gap for the Food Safety and Inspection Service was passed just before a vote on the larger bill was called.
U.S. Senators Roy Blunt, R-Mo. and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., introduced the amendment to the Continuing Resolution last week, hoping to save some food inspection jobs from the furlough chopping block.
The amendment transfers $55 million in existing agriculture funds to FSIS to cover costs of FSIS inspections. It adds no additional cost to the bill, the Senators say, and instead moves one-time funding for school equipment grants and deferred maintenance on buildings and facilities at USDA.