House adopts ‘clean’ stopgap funding bill possibly averting shutdown

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The House of Representatives voted Saturday to pass a short-term spending bill, moving to avoid a government shutdown if the Senate adopts the measure.

The bill now heads to the Senate. If it’s expedited there, Congress could just narrowly avoid seeing thousands of federal employees furloughed and nonessential government programs paused.

House lawmakers on both sides of the aisle broke out into applause in a rare moment of bipartisanship after the short-term bill known as a continuing resolution (CR), passed 335 to 91.

The funding patch will last for 45 days past the end of the fiscal year, which concludes at midnight Sunday, Oct. 1. The bill also includes $16 billion for U.S. disaster relief aid that President Biden requested over the summer, Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said on Saturday. 

It comes after House Republicans tried and failed to pass a seperate stopgap funding bill that contained conservative policy items like border security and spending cuts. The national debt reached $33 trillion for the first time in history earlier in September, amplifying concerns among conservatives that government spending is out of control.

‘We need more time to get the job done,’ McCarthy told reporters ahead of the vote. McCarthy said he did not want to ‘punish’ military service members or border agents for the House’s failure to pass a budget that ends wasteful spending and addresses border security.

‘The House is going to act so government will not shut down. We will put a clean funding stopgap on the floor to keep government open for 45 days for the House and Senate to get their work done,’ McCarthy also said. ‘We will also, knowing what had transpired through the summer, the disasters in Florida, the horrendous fire in Hawaii, and also disasters in California and Vermont, we will put the supplemental portion that the president asked for in disaster there too.’

Republicans’ previous CR proposals did not get any Democratic support, and failed after enough GOP hardliners opposed them. Holdouts argued that a CR on principle is an extension of the previous Democratically-held Congress’ priorities, and is the antithesis of the House GOP majority’s promise to pass 12 individual spending bills laying out conservative priorities in the next fiscal year.

But the majority of lawmakers on both sides have acknowledged that some kind of stopgap is needed to give them more time to cobble those deals together. The current fiscal year ends at midnight tonight, meaning that if no agreement is passed by the House and Senate, thousands of government employees will be furloughed and ‘nonessential’ federal programs will grind to a halt.

And despite Democrats clamoring for a ‘clean’ CR, it’s not immediately clear if they will support the bill being put forward by the GOP now. 

Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., told Fox News Digital that he believes Democrats will vote against the CR to hold out for the Senate’s proposal, which also includes funding for Ukraine aid – something a large share of House Republicans oppose.

‘I think this may fail because Democrats in the House want a Senate CR,’ Barr said. ‘So what could happen is a pretty low vote number on this…you’ll have Democrats who are voting to shut the government down. And that’s what you’re gonna see. Democrats want to politicize this, and they’re gonna vote to shut the government down.’

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., would not say where he would fall when speaking to reporters before the vote but complained about Republicans having ‘dropped this on us in the 11th hour.’

House Republicans ‘lied every single step of the way,’ Jeffries said.

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