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SAFER Banking Act On Track As Government Narrowly Avoids Shutdown 

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Over the weekend the US House and Senate both voted through a short-term funding deal, seeing a government shutdown avoided with just three hours to spare.

The shutdown, which was slated to begin at 00:01 on Sunday (October 1), would have seen tens of thousands of government workers placed on furlough without pay, meaning government operations, including the passage of key legislation, would have been placed on hold.

It came just days after the SAFER Banking Act cleared the Senate Banking Committee by a vote of 14-9, marking the first time the cannabis legislation will get a full floor vote in the senate.

While this marked an unprecedented milestone for the long-awaited legislation, which has had numerous attempts at being passed, congressional infighting put this under threat.

Shutdowns occur when both chambers of congress are unable to agree on around 30% of a proposed annual budget, which must be approved at the start of each fiscal year on October 1.

With repeated attempts to pass being struck down by rebel right-wingers, neither party had come to an agreement by the start of the weekend recess.

A shutdown pushing back the vote on the SAFER act would have, according to a number of sources, greatly reduced the bill’s chances of being passed.

Speaking to MJBiz Daily, senior vice president of public affairs at the U.S. Cannabis Council David Culver said: “If there’s a shutdown, we can reasonably expect that to slow down progress on Capitol Hill across the board.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it: The shutdown is not good for SAFE. It’s not good for anything else moving forward this Congress.”

Reggie Babin, former aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer said: “I’ve always pointed to October as the most likely window to carve out a couple of weeks (for SAFE Banking).

“But that could be complicated if there’s a shutdown that costs you legislative days in the fall.”

Lawmakers on both sides keen to avert a shutdown have now voted through a rushed package of measures, which has staved off a shutdown until November 17.

However, this is a temporary solution, and many expect the drama to be repeated in 45 days time as a number of key issues are yet to be resolved.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he intends to bring the SAFER bill to a full floor vote ‘as soon as possible’, but it is not yet clear if this will take place before the next shutdown threshold.

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