Related video: Bill passed to avert government shutdown
The Senate has overwhelmingly passed a deal to avoid a government shutdown, a day after Democrats helped the deal pass he House of Representatives. Now, the bill will go to President Joe Biden to sign.
Earlier the House closed down until after Thanksgiving with no votes until 28 November after Speaker Mike Johnson failed to pass another spending bill following his enlisting of the Democrats to avoid a shutdown.
Texas Rep Chip Roy told CNN that going ahead with the spending bill without cuts and passing it under suspension of the rules with the help of members from across the aisle was “strike one and strike two” for the new speaker.
“The Swamp won and the speaker needs to know that,” Mr Roy said. “We’ll go figure out what’s next but I can tell you Republican voters are tired of promises to fight. We want to actually see change. And so you know, we’ll see what happens but, but our approach shouldn’t be assumed when they’re needed and then get rolled on a suspension.”
In total, 209 Democrats joined in to help fund the government, with the package passing 336 to 95, with 93 Republicans voting against.
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‘We can’t afford it shut the government down’
Many Republicans from swing districts and districts that voted for President Joe Biden voted for the legislation.
“Well, we can’t afford it shut the government down,” Rep Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ) told The Independent. “We need to pay our border patrol agents we need to keep our government running. We need more time.”
Rep Mike Lawler said that the passage showed Mr Johnson’s skill.
“Obviously, it’s an important step for him as speaker to be able to show that we can govern and that you know, when it comes time to do big things, like this, that he’s able to do it,” he said.
Many right-wing Republicans criticised the approach, but refrained from criticising Mr Johnson personally. Rep Ken Buck (R-CO), who voted with seven other Republicans to depose Kevin McCarthy as speaker, said Mr Johnson faced a different set of circumstances.
“What happened with Kevin was he knew that we weren’t on schedule with the appropriations bills,” he told The Independent. “Now, Johnson inherits that mess, and Johnson’s got to do something about it.”
Eric Garcia16 November 2023 11:00
‘I think this whole idea of a two-part process is ridiculous, but at least we’re not shutting down government’
Rep Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told The Independent that she appreciated the fact that the bill did not include any spending cuts.
“I think this whole idea of a two-part process is ridiculous, but at least we’re not shutting down government and there’s no spending cuts and there’s no poison pills,” she said.
The legislation now goes to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed openness to the bill despite his criticisms. Mr Schumer said during his press conference on Tuesday that Mr Johnson agreed to the parameters that Mr Schumer requested.
“One, not making the heartbreak cuts that the MAGA right demands,” he told reporters. “And second, making sure that if they’re going to do this sort of goofy ladder, that defence is in the second part of the ladder, not the first.”
Eric Garcia16 November 2023 09:00
More House Democrats than Republicans vote to keep the government open
Some 209 Democrats voted for the bill while 127 Republicans voted for a “laddered” continuing resolution that would keep parts of the government funded until 19 January 2024 and other parts until 2 February 2024.
The vote is a win for newly-elected Speaker Mike Johnson, who proposed the two-tiered approach as a means to avoid passing an “omnibus” spending bill, but rather to pass 12 individual spending bills, a demand from right-wing members of the House Republican conference.
The vote came after House Democratic Leadership – including Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Minority Whip Katherine Clark and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar – announced their support for the legislation. Democratic leaders said they supported the legislation because it did not include any steep cuts.
“To that end, House Democrats have repeatedly articulated that any continuing resolution must be set at the fiscal year 2023 spending level, be devoid of harmful cuts and free of extreme right-wing policy riders,” they said in a joint statement. “The continuing resolution before the House today meets that criteria and we will support it.”
Eric Garcia16 November 2023 07:00
1% automatic cuts despised by all sides
The Republicans are left funding the government essentially on autopilot at the levels that were set in bipartisan fashion at the end of 2022, when Democrats had control of Congress but the two parties came together to agree on budget terms.
All that could change in the new year when 1% cuts across the board to all departments would be triggered if Congress failed to agree to new budget terms and pass the traditional appropriation bills to fund the government by springtime.
The 1% automatic cuts, which would take hold in April, are despised by all sides — Republicans say they are not enough, Democrats say they are too steep and many lawmakers prefer to boost defense funds. But they are part of the debt deal McCarthy and Biden struck earlier this year. The idea was to push Congress to do better.
The legislation also extends farm bill programs through September, the end of the current fiscal year. That addition was an important win for some farm-state lawmakers. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., for example, warned that without the extension, milk prices would have soared and hurt producers back in his home state.
“The farm bill extension was the biggest sweetener for me,” said Pocan.
Phil Thomas16 November 2023 04:56
Senate passes temporary spending bill to avert government shutdown
The US Senate overwhelmingly passed a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown on Wednesday, teeing off major fights about spending bills in the coming year.
The continuing resolution passed with all but one Democrat supporting the bill while 10 Republicans opposed it. The House of Representatives passed the bill on Tuesday evening.
The legislation – pushed by newly-elected House Speaker Mike Johnson – would keep parts of the government open until 19 January 2024 while other parts would be open until 2 February 2024.
Phil Thomas16 November 2023 04:55
‘It’s nice to see us working together,’ McConnell says
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called the House package “a solution” and said he expected it to pass Congress with bipartisan support.
“It’s nice to see us working together to avoid a government shutdown,” he said.
But McConnell, R-Ky., has noted that Congress still has work to do toward Biden’s request to provide U.S. military aid for Ukraine and Israel and for other needs. Senators are trying to devise a separate package to fund U.S. supplies for the overseas wars and to bolster border security, but it remains a work in progress.
If approved, passage of the continuing resolution would be a less-than-triumphant capstone to the House GOP’s first year in the majority. The Republicans have worked tirelessly to cut federal government spending only to find their own GOP colleagues unwilling to go along with the most conservative priorities. Two of the Republican bills collapsed last week as moderates revolted.
‘What’s the point in throwing out one speaker if nothing changes?’
Winning bipartisan approval of a continuing resolution is the same move that led McCarthy’s hard-right flank to oust him in October, days after the Sept. 30 vote to avert a federal shutdown. For now, Johnson appears to be benefiting from a political honeymoon in one of his first big tests on the job.
“Look, we’re going to trust the speaker’s move here,” said Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-Ga.
But Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., a McCarthy ally who opposed his ouster, said Johnson should be held to the same standard. “What’s the point in throwing out one speaker if nothing changes? The only way to make sure that real changes happen is make the red line stay the same for every speaker.”
The Senate, where Democrats have a slim majority, has signaled its willingness to accept Johnson’s package ahead of Friday’s deadline to fund the government.
GOP package met Democratic demands to keep funding at current levels
The opposition from hardline conservatives left Johnson with few other options than to skip what’s typically a party-only procedural vote, and rely on another process that requires a two-thirds tally with Democrats for passage.
House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said Democrats were willing to find common ground with Republicans “while pushing back against Republican extremism whenever necessary.”
In a statement with the other the top Democratic leaders, Jeffries pointed out that a federal shutdown “would hurt the economy, our national security and everyday Americans.” He had noted in a letter to colleagues that the GOP package met Democratic demands to keep funding at current levels without steep reductions or divisive Republican policy priorities.
Johnson, who announced his endorsement Tuesday of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president, hit the airwaves to sell his approach and met privately Monday night with the conservative Freedom Caucus.
Johnson says the innovative approach would position House Republicans to “go into the fight” for deeper spending cuts in the new year, but many Republicans are skeptical there will be any better outcome in January.
Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican who is part of the House Freedom Caucus, did not hold back on his opinion of the stopgap bill: “It’s crap.”
He said he would give “a little bit of room” to Johnson, who is three weeks into the job of speaker. But Roy threatened to seize control of the House floor if conservative demands for cuts are not met in the months ahead.