US

The United States Congress passes a stopgap bill to avoid a government shutdown.

The United States Congress passes a stopgap bill to avoid a government shutdown.


The House voted 335-91 to finance the government through November 17, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans.

The United States Congress enacted a stopgap financing bill late Saturday with overwhelming Democratic support after Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy backed down from his party’s hardliners’ previous demand for a partisan bill.

The Democratic-majority Senate voted 88-9 to adopt the bill to avoid the federal government’s fourth partial shutdown in a decade, sending it to President Joe Biden for signature before the deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET (0401 GMT).

McCarthy dropped party hardliners’ demand that any bill pass the chamber with only Republican votes, a move that could prompt one of his far-right members to try to depose him as leader.

The House voted 335-91 to finance the government through November 17, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans.

This constituted a significant turnaround from earlier in the week, when a shutdown appeared all but certain. A shutdown would mean that most of the government’s 4 million employees would not be paid, whether they worked or not, and that a variety of federal services, from National Parks to banking regulators, would be shut down.

Federal agencies had previously developed detailed plans outlining which services will continue, such as airport screening and border patrols, and which would be phased away, such as scientific research and nutrition assistance to 7 million low-income moms.

“The American people can breathe a sigh of relief: there will be no government shutdown tonight,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced following the vote. “Democrats have said from the start that the only solution for avoiding a shutdown is bipartisanship, and we are glad Speaker McCarthy has finally heeded our message.”

DEMOCRATS CLAIM SUCCESS

Democrats declared victory after 209 Democrats voted in favor of the bill, considerably outnumbering the 126 Republicans who did.

“Extreme MAGA Republicans have lost, the American people have won,” senior House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries told reporters ahead of the vote, referring to former President Donald Trump and many hardline Republicans’ use of the “Make America Great Again” slogan.

Democratic Representative Don Beyer commented: “I am relieved that Speaker McCarthy folded and finally allowed a bipartisan vote at the 11th hour on legislation to stop Republicans’ rush to a disastrous shutdown.”

McCarthy’s change secured the approval of senior Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, who had previously supported a similar bill that was advancing through the Senate with broad bipartisan support, despite the fact that the House version removed money for Ukraine.

Democratic Senator Michael Bennett obstructed the bill for several hours while attempting to get an agreement on further Ukraine funding.

“While I would have preferred to pass a bill now with additional assistance for Ukraine, which has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, it is easier to help Ukraine with the government open than if it were closed,” a statement from Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen read.

McCarthy downplayed fears that conservative Republicans would attempt to depose him as leader.

“I want to be the adult in the room, so go ahead and try,” McCarthy said to reporters. “And you know what else? If it means jeopardizing my career to advocate for the American people, I will do so.”

He stated that House Republicans would proceed with plans to approve more appropriations packages that would decrease spending while also including other conservative demands such as stronger border controls.

CONCERNS ABOUT CREDIT

The impasse comes only months after Congress forced the federal government to default on its $31.4 trillion debt. The drama has sparked concern on Wall Street, with Moody’s warning that it could harm the United States’ creditworthiness.

Stopgap spending bills are often passed by Congress to buy additional time to negotiate detailed legislation that establishes funding for federal programs.

This year, a number of Republicans in the House has obstructed action because they want to tighten immigration and cut spending below the levels agreed to in the debt-ceiling standoff in the spring.

The accord struck by McCarthy and Biden to avert default imposed a cap of $1.59 trillion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2024. House Republicans want another $120 billion in cuts.

The financing battle is focused on a very modest portion of the $6.4 trillion US budget for the current fiscal year. Cuts to popular benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare are not being considered by lawmakers.

“We should never have found ourselves in this situation in the first place.” “Speaker McCarthy and I reached a budget agreement just a few months ago to avoid exactly this type of manufactured crisis,” Biden said in a statement following the vote. “House Republicans attempted to back out of the agreement by demanding drastic cuts that would have devastated millions of Americans.” They were defeated.”

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