US: Spending bill passes in House, heads to Senate as shutdown fear looms

World Sunday 01/October/2023 08:58 AM
US: Spending bill passes in House, heads to Senate as shutdown fear looms

Washington DC: The United States House on Saturday approved a 45-day stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown, sending the legislation to the Senate for consideration hours before the midnight funding deadline, The Hill reported.

Notably, the decision is poised to prevent the government from falling off the shutdown cliff, which many lawmakers thought was inevitable after weeks of disagreements within the House GOP conference and between both chambers.

The measure would keep the government funded at current spending levels through November 17. It includes USD 16 billion in disaster relief — matching the figure the White House included in a supplemental request. However, it does not include Ukraine aid or border policy changes, The Hill reported.

The stopgap bill was cleared by the chamber in an overwhelmingly bipartisan 335-91 vote hours after Speaker Kevin McCarthy rolled out the proposal. One Democrat and 90 Republicans voted against the measure.

However, the plan marked a stark shift in McArthy’s posture when it comes to government funding. And it could spell trouble for his Speakership as conservatives heighten their threats to confiscate his gavel, as per The Hill.

Also, the Republican conservatives are furious over McCarthy’s pivot to rely on Democratic votes to pass a short-term funding extension, CNN reported.

Rep. Wesley Hunt said “We cannot continue to kick this can down the road” after the House passed the extension.

“This isn’t personal for me against Kevin McCarthy…What I do have something against is the USD 33 trillion of debt that we’ve amassed over the last 30 years. That’s what I am fighting for,” CNN quoted him as saying.

Rep. Lauren Boebert criticized the passage of the short-term stopgap bill, saying that Congress instead needs to pass the 12 annual appropriations bills.

“We should have forced the Senate to take up the four appropriations bills that the House has passed. That should have been our play…We should have forced them to come to the negotiating table, to come to conference, to hash out our differences,” CNN quoted her as saying.

Mike Quigley of Illinois, was the lone Democrat who voted against the stopgap bill, stated that he did so to keep the government open, railed against the decision to not include aid to Ukraine.

"Putin is celebrating," Quigley told CNN, saying the Reagan doctrine is "dead" in the GOP.

Meanwhile, as developments on Capitol Hill took an unexpected turn on Saturday — with the House passing a short-term bill aimed at averting a government shutdown — Biden administration officials remained in close touch with lawmakers in both parties, CNN reported citing officials.

That included direct conversations with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.