I have a fair understanding of the appropriations process but what I have trouble with is finding information about what kind of consensus is needed for a CR to pass Congress. Is it by simple majority, 2/3, or 3/5 in both House and Senate?

I have a random link here:


In the link under "Procedural History" it shows the numbers of votes for passage in both House and Senate. But again, what is the majority needed to pass? Because if there were no majority or agreement reached then shutdown would be next until there can be an agreement.

2 Answers 2


The vote requirements for Continuing Resolutions is no different than other bills that may be introduced to fund the government (Budget Reconciliation is the exception).

In the House, a simple majority.

In the Senate, a vote of 60 (three-fifths) is needed to end debate (cloture vote). Following that, a simple majority.

For the 117th Congress (2021), the Continuing Resolution is H.R.5305.

H.R.5305 - Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act

It is known as a continuing resolution (CR) and prevents a government shutdown that would otherwise occur if the FY2022 appropriations bills have not been enacted when FY2022 begins on October 1, 2021. The CR funds most programs and activities at the FY2021 levels with several exceptions that provide funding flexibility and additional appropriations for various programs.

On September 21, 2021, the House passed the bill by a vote of 220 to 211 -- a simple majority.

The bill was sent to the Senate.

On September 27, 2021, the Senate voted On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed (Motion to Invoke Cloture: Motion to Proceed to H.R. 5305 ). This required a vote of three-fifths in favor. The vote failed 48 to 50.

Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) voted Nay so that the motion can be reconsidered later.

On September 28, 2021, Senator Schumer offered, separate from H.R.5305, S.2868 - A bill to temporarily extend the public debt limit until December 16, 2022. Unanimous consent was requested for passage of the bill. Senator McConnell objected.

On September 29, 2021, Senator Schumer stated that "Senate Democrats will be introducing a continuing resolution that keeps the government open until early December, ..." .

On September 30, 2021, Senator Leahy offered S.Amdt.3830 to H.R.5305 "in the nature of a substitute". Republicans offered three amendments to S.Amdt.3830. Debate and voting on the amendments was done "under the previous order" which limited debate time but applied a "60-vote" rule for passage of the amendments. The Republican amendments failed. S.Amdt.3830 passed 65-35.

The amended H.R.5305 was returned to the House where it passed 254-175. President Biden signed the bill.

  • I submitted a different answer that attempts to address the OP's Q without waiting for a resolution of the current legislation. I avoided the reconciliation issue because it was not in the OP's subject. That, of course, is relevant to a deep understanding of the situation but is outside the question's scope. Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 19:29

A continuing resolution (CR) has the same simple-majority (50%) vote requirement as other resolutions, provided it gets to a floor vote. The confounding factor is the supermajority (3/5) vote usually required to cut off debate of controversial resolutions in the Senate.


CRs are sometimes used when Congress fails to pass an appropriations bill by the end of the fiscal year. However, it places substantial spending limits on the government, basing spending on previous years' budgets. In 2013, that sufficed. The government ran on CRs for decades between FY1978 and FY1988 and several later years.

But now, the Democrats are trying to pass a substantial increase in spending on the slimmest of congressional majorities. It may still require a CR to keep the government running, but the political situation is very different now than in 2013. If funding via continuing resolution lasts for years, it would seem like a defeat of the progressive agenda.

H.R.5305 is a proposal to use a CR now included a further provision to avoid a cap on the national debt, and as such, would probably have been debated forever (a filibuster) in the Senate. The recent vote was not actually on the bill, but on a motion by Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to bring HR5305 to the Senate floor with limited debate (cloture.) It is cloture that has the supermajority (3/5 majority) requirement, not the CR.

Schumer then voted against his own cloture motion in a procedural move. While this seems counter-intuitive, it preserved his ability to revive the motion later, if he thinks he can achieve the supermajority.

See also: this congressional research service report on CRs.


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