House Approves Short-Term Funding Bill, Eases Shutdown Concerns

USA

USA: The possibility of a federal government shutdown was abruptly eliminated late Saturday when President Joe Biden swiftly signed a bipartisan temporary financing agreement to keep agencies operating.

Ukraine Aid Cut as Republicans and Democrats Rally Around Funding Bill

The measure eliminates help to Ukraine, a White House priority that is being rejected by an increasing number of Republican senators, but it increases federal disaster assistance by $16 billion, fully funding Biden’s request. The legislation provides funding for the government through November 17. Speaker Kevin McCarthy abruptly abandoned demands for significant budget cuts from his right wing and instead depended on Democrats to approve the bill, risking his own job, after days of tumultuous volatility in the House. After the Senate passed it, the day in the Capitol came to an end.

Biden Hails Funding Bill Passage as Good News for Americans

“This is good news for the American people,” Biden said in a statement. He also said the United States “cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted” and expected McCarthy “will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment.” After arduous days in the House brought the nation to the verge of a disruptive government shutdown, there has been a swift and unexpected change of events in Congress prior to the midnight funding deadline.

Temporary Relief from Shutdown Looms, But Uncertainty Persists

The decision puts a halt to the shutdown danger for the time being, but the delay might not last long. As opinions harden, particularly among the right-flank legislators whose demands were finally brushed aside this time in favour of a more bipartisan approach, Congress will once again need to fund the government in the coming weeks, triggering a catastrophe. “We’re going to do our job,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said before the House vote. “We’re going to be adults in the room. And we’re going to keep government open.” More than 2 million active-duty and reserve military personnel would have been forced to work without pay, programmes and services that Americans depend on from coast to coast would have started to experience shutdown interruptions, and federal workers would have been forced to take furloughs if a deal hadn’t been reached by Sunday.

Government Shutdown Averted, Says Schumer

“It has been a day full of twists and turns, but the American people can breathe a sigh of relief: There will be no government shutdown,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The package extends other provisions, like as those for the Federal Aviation Administration, and funding the government at current 2023 levels through mid-November. The House voted 335-91 in favour of the bill, with the majority of Republicans and practically all Democrats voting yes. The Senate voted 88-9 in favour of approval. However, parliamentarians from all parties who had vowed to support President Volodymyr Zelenskyy following his recent trip to Washington were devastated by the loss of funding to Ukraine. Both houses came to a standstill on Saturday as members considered their options after the Senate plan, which included $6 billion for Ukraine, was introduced.

Jeffries Condemns ‘Extreme’ Republicans’ Role in Shutdown Risk

Hakeem Jeffries, the leader of the House Democrats from New York, said that “extreme” Republicans were putting the country at risk of a shutdown in a lengthy floor speech. McCarthy had to rely on Democrats to pass the House proposal because the speaker’s hard-right flank has said that it will oppose any short-term financing measure, depriving him of the support he needs from his thin majority. It’s a move that will undoubtedly increase calls for his removal. McCarthy will very certainly be subject to a resolution to attempt and remove him from office after leaving the conservative holdouts behind, though it is far from guaranteed that there would be enough votes to do so. On Saturday, 90 Republicans abstained while the majority supported the measure.

McCarthy Defiant Amidst Removal Threat, Pledges to Prioritize Country

“If somebody wants to remove me because I want to be the adult in the room, go ahead and try,” McCarthy said of the threat to oust him. “But I think this country is too important.” The president, who was spending the weekend in Washington, was being briefed by the White House, which was keeping watch of what was happening on Capitol Hill. The head of the Senate’s Republican party, Mitch McConnell, has pushed for U.S. assistance for Kyiv in its conflict with Russia despite opposition from inside his own party. “I have agreed to keep fighting for more economic and security aid for Ukraine,” McConnell, R-Ky., said before the vote. The federal government was on track to shut down, which posed a serious risk to the nation’s federal employees and those who depend on them, including soldiers, border patrol agents, office workers, scientists, and others.

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