Congress moved toward a deal to keep the US government open after the House passed a bipartisan, short-term spending measure with hours to go before a shutdown.
(Bloomberg) — Congress moved toward a deal to keep the US government open after the House passed a bipartisan, short-term spending measure with hours to go before a shutdown.
The vote was 335-91, with 209 Democrats voting with 126 Republicans to support the measure.
The bill now heads for a vote in the Senate, which could happen before — or soon after — the midnight deadline if no senators throw up procedural hurdles.
The proposal from Speaker Kevin McCarthy would keep the US government open until Nov. 17 and includes $16 billion in disaster funding — but not aid for Ukraine. Lawmakers in both parties who support the Ukraine funding said that could be handled separately.
“There is growing hope that we may actually avoid a shutdown,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the House-passed bill would keep the government open at higher levels than the Senate’s version, noting it includes disaster relief and authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration, which expires Oct. 1.
The Biden administration, the official said, expects Ukraine aid to be handled in a separate bill.
The Senate bill with funding for Ukraine had strong bipartisan support before the latest House maneuver. But McConnell, one of the strongest advocates for Kyiv, said Republicans there would block a vote on their bill to let the House do its work. McCarthy has told Republicans that Ukraine can withstand 45 days without new US aid.
Link to BGOV Bill Summary: H.R. 5860, Stopgap Funding Through Nov. 17
Supporters of Ukraine aid in the Senate are looking for a new path after McCarthy’s move.
“Every day that goes by without this aid Russia gets closer to being capable to winning this war,” said Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.
Democratic New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen told reporters the upper chamber would work on a Ukraine supplemental aid package in the coming weeks.
“They must have uninterrupted aid and uninterrupted help,” Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said. “No one is backing down on Ukraine in our caucus.”
Read more: House Omits Ukraine Funding for Now in Measure to Avert Shutdown
McCarthy defied hardliners in his own party with his proposal, which the speaker’s allies rushed to fast-track using a procedure that relied heavily on Democratic votes.
The bill threatens to provoke hardliner Matt Gaetz, McCarthy’s most ardent detractor, to move to oust the speaker. The House adjourned until Monday, preventing Gaetz from offering a so-called motion to vacate immediately after the bill.
“If somebody wants to remove me because I want to be the adult in the room, go ahead and try,” McCarthy told reporters earlier Saturday.
The measure doesn’t include ultra-conservatives’ demands for deep spending cuts and border policies anathema to Democrats.
“I want to keep government open while we finish our job to secure the border,” McCarthy told reporters after a closed-door GOP meeting that lasted an hour and a half.
Read More: A Shutdown Poses Political Risks Across the Washington Spectrum
North Carolina Representative Greg Murphy emerged from the meeting saying some Republicans have a “pathological” dislike of McCarthy.
“They’re not willing to put that aside and do what’s best for the country,” Murphy said of the hardliners. “It’s pretty selfish, to be honest.”
Read more: The Shutdown Seven: Here Are Lawmakers to Watch in Negotiations
–With assistance from Billy House, Steven T. Dennis and Akayla Gardner.
(Updates with details, new quotes on Ukraine aid in paragraphs 8-12.)
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