Washington, Sept 30 (The Street Press) – The U.S. Congress passed a temporary funding bill on Saturday with strong support from Democrats. This happened after Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy changed his mind. Earlier, some Republicans wanted a bill that only their party liked.
The Senate, where Democrats have more members, voted 88-9 to pass the measure. This stopped the federal government from having its fourth partial shutdown in ten years. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law before the deadline at 12:01 a.m. ET (0401 GMT).
McCarthy changed his mind and didn’t insist that only Republicans support the bill in the House. This change might lead some far-right members to try to remove him from his leadership role.
In the House, the vote was 335-91 in favor of funding the government until Nov. 17, with more Democrats than Republicans supporting it. This was a big change from earlier in the week when it seemed like a government shutdown was very likely. If there had been a shutdown, most of the government’s 4 million employees would not have been paid, whether they were working or not. It would have also closed various federal services, including National Parks and financial regulators.
Federal agencies had made plans that explained which services would keep running, like airport screening and border patrols, and which would stop, like scientific research and nutrition aid for 7 million struggling mothers.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that the American people can relax now; there won’t be a government shutdown tonight. Democrats have been saying all along that the only way to avoid a shutdown is to work together across party lines, and they’re pleased that Speaker McCarthy has finally listened to their message.
A majority of 209 Democrats backed the bill, which was considerably more than the 126 Republicans who did the same. Democrats saw this as a victory.
Top House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries stated before the vote, “Extreme MAGA Republicans have lost, and the American people have won.” He was referring to the “Make America Great Again” slogan associated with former President Donald Trump and some staunch Republicans.
Democratic Representative Don Beyer expressed relief, saying, “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 of stance gained the support of leading Senate Republican Mitch McConnell. McConnell had supported a similar measure in the Senate, which was receiving significant bipartisan support. It’s worth noting that the House version of the bill had omitted aid for Ukraine.
Democratic Senator Michael Bennett delayed the bill for several hours while trying to negotiate for additional aid for Ukraine. Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen expressed his preference for passing a bill with more Ukraine assistance, but he acknowledged that it’s easier to help Ukraine when the government is open.
Regarding concerns about possible challenges to his leadership, McCarthy dismissed them, saying, “I want to be the adult in the room, go ahead and try. And you know what? If I have to risk my job for standing up for the American public, I will do that”. He also mentioned that House Republicans would continue with their plans to pass more funding bills, including measures that reduce spending and align with conservative priorities like stricter border controls.