Monday, December 11, 2023

US: Spending Bill Passes In House, Heads To Senate as Shutdown Fear Looms

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The United States House approved a 45-day temporary funding bill on Saturday in order to prevent a government shutdown. The legislation was sent to the Senate just hours before the midnight deadline for funding, as reported by The Hill.

Notably, this decision aims to avoid a government shutdown, a scenario that many lawmakers believed was inevitable due to weeks of disagreements within the House GOP conference and between the two chambers. The proposed measure would maintain current spending levels until November 17 and includes $16 billion for disaster relief, matching the White House’s supplemental request. However, it does not include assistance for Ukraine or changes to border policies, according to The Hill.

The stopgap bill received broad bipartisan support, passing with a vote of 335-91, shortly after Speaker Kevin McCarthy introduced the proposal. One Democrat and 90 Republicans voted against it. McCarthy’s shift in approach to government funding has raised concerns and may impact his position as Speaker, especially as conservative members threaten to challenge his leadership, as reported by The Hill.

The bill received support from 209 Democrats, significantly outnumbering the 126 Republicans who backed it, with Democrats characterizing the outcome as a victory.

Additionally, Republican conservatives expressed frustration over McCarthy’s reliance on Democratic votes to pass a short-term funding extension, according to CNN. Representative Wesley Hunt emphasized the need to address the growing national debt, saying, “We cannot continue to kick this can down the road.”

Representative Lauren Boebert criticized the passage of the short-term stopgap bill, advocating for the passage of the 12 annual appropriations bills and urging negotiations with the Senate to resolve differences, as quoted by CNN.

Mike Quigley, the lone Democrat who voted against the stopgap bill, explained that his vote was aimed at keeping the government open but expressed disappointment that aid to Ukraine was not included. He argued that the GOP’s stance had weakened the Reagan doctrine, as per CNN.

Meanwhile, despite the unexpected developments on Capitol Hill, where the House passed the short-term funding bill, Biden administration officials remained in close contact with lawmakers from both parties, including direct conversations with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as reported by CNN.

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