• Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

Highlights: US averts government shutdown

Highlights: US averts government shutdown



A government shutdown was prevented after Congress passed a stopgap funding measure ahead of a critical midnight deadline in a whirlwind day on Capitol Hill.

President Joe Biden signed the bill late Saturday night.

Catch up here:

How it came together: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the stopgap proposal Saturday morning, a move that came after weeks of infighting among House Republicans and a failed effort to pass a GOP stopgap bill in the chamber. The bill passed the House with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, and it then was sent to the Senate. The final vote was 88 to 9.

The bill will keep the government open through November 17 and includes natural disaster aid but not additional funding for Ukraine or border security.

Concerns over Ukraine funding: The stopgap bill originally included funding for Ukraine to help Kyiv fight the full-scale invasion from Russia, but the funds were dropped after some conservatives raised objections during negotiations.

Democratic Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet briefly held up the vote on the bill after he objected over concerns about the lack of funding in it. Bipartisan members of Senate leadership released a joint statement committing to vote on further funding for Ukraine aid “in the coming weeks.”

House Democratic leadership said in a statement that they expect McCarthy to bring a separate Ukraine aid bill to vote when the House returns. 

“We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted,” Biden said in a statement.

McCarthy’s fate unknown: The decision by McCarthy to put a bill on the floor that would win support from Democrats could put his speakership at risk as hardline conservatives continue to threaten a vote to oust him from the top House leadership post.

McCarthy was defiant after the vote, daring his detractors to try to push him out as he argued he did what was needed to govern effectively.

“If somebody wants to make a motion against me, bring it,” McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju at a news conference. “There has to be an adult in the room. I am going to govern with what’s best for this country.”

Hardliners are expected to force a vote to remove McCarthy as speaker, just “not yet,” according to a Republican lawmaker.

Fire alarm incident: New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman pulled a fire alarm in a House office building on Saturday morning shortly before the House was scheduled to vote on the funding bill, which he said was an accident.

“I was trying to get to a door. I thought the alarm would open the door, and I pulled the fire alarm to open the door by accident,” he told reporters.

“I was just trying to get to my vote, and the door that’s usually open wasn’t open, it was closed,” Bowman added.

House Administration Committee Chair Bryan Steil, who first revealed the incident, said “an investigation into why it was pulled is underway.”

McCarthy said the House ethics committee should look into it, while GOP Rep. Lisa McClain told CNN that she was circulating a resolution to censure Bowman. 



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