The sun sets behind the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. The House passed a continuing resolution seeking to avoid a government shutdown starting Friday. Photo Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution to fund the government through Feb. 18 as the country faced the possibility of a federal shutdown that could begin Friday.
The continuing resolution passed by a 221-212 margin, with only one Republican -- Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois -- joining Democrats in supporting the measure.
Congressional leaders in the House had reached an agreement on the spending bill earlier in the day.
Although now approved by the House, its fate remained in limbo because some Senate Republicans are objecting to Biden's vaccine mandate, for federal and some private workers, which is presently being challenged in court.
Before Thursday's vote, Biden said he was confident Congress would reach a deal to avert the looming shutdown, despite the opposition of some GOP senators whose support is needed to implement the funding measure quickly.
"Look, I don't believe [a shutdown] will happen," he told reporters, according to CNN. "We have everything in place to be able to make sure there's not a shutdown."
Biden said he had spoken with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer who indicated "there is a plan in place, unless somebody decides to be totally erratic, and I don't think that will happen, so I don't think there will be a shutdown."
Congress and Biden agreed on the last resolution in September to keep the government running through Dec. 3.
House appropriations committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., announced the new deal early Thursday.
"The [resolution] includes virtually no changes to existing funding or policy," she said in a statement. "However, Democrats prevailed in including $7 billion for Afghanistan evacuees."
"This agreement allows the appropriations process to move forward toward a final funding agreement which addresses the needs of the American people," DeLauro added.
A Marine stands outside the West Wing of the White House on September 30, the night that President Joe Biden
signed the last continuing resolution, which funded the government until December 3. File Photo by Stefani Reynolds/UPI
Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate appropriations committee, acknowledged the agreement on Thursday, but said that now's the time to "get serious" about negotiating spending bills for fiscal 2022.
"I have said many times that work can only begin if we agree to start FY22 where we finished FY21," he said, according to The Hill.
"That means maintaining legacy riders, eliminating poison pills and getting serious about the funding we are going to provide for our nation's defense. If that doesn't happen, we'll be having this same conversation in February."