The U.S. avoided a government shutdown after the Senate secured enough votes to pass a bill to keep the government funded for 45 days just hours before Saturday’s midnight deadline.
The deal sailed through the Senate 88 to 9, hours after it made it through the House and after a shutdown seemed inevitable on Saturday morning.
‘The American people can breathe a sigh of relief. There will be no government shutdown,’ Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
President Joe Biden said the threat of a federal government shutdown would have been a ‘unnecessary crisis’ and ‘we should never have been in this position.’
The last-minute deal followed chaotic scenes in the House where Speaker Kevin McCarthy dropped demands for massive spending cuts and had to rely on Democrats to pass a package without funding for Ukraine.
As the deadline loomed, Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman also became the center of fury and Republican calls to be expelled from Congress for pulling a fire alarm just before a crucial vote.
The bill will now head to the President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed, and Congress is expected to deal with Ukraine aid and spending bills in the coming weeks, before the government’s money runs out again.
The U.S. avoided a government shutdown after the Senate secured enough votes to pass a bill to keep the government funded for 45 days just hours before Saturday’s midnight deadline
With just 3 hours left, Congress has passed a bipartisan bill to avert a government shutdown – excluding the demands from Extreme House Republicans.
Now it’s on the way to President Biden’s desk where he will promptly sign it into law.
It never should have been this close. https://t.co/WYXGlCWgDG
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 1, 2023
Biden said in a statement: ‘Tonight, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate voted to keep the government open, preventing an unnecessary crisis that would have inflicted needless pain on millions of hardworking Americans.
‘This bill ensures that active-duty troops will continue to get paid, travelers will be spared airport delays, millions of women and children will continue to have access to vital nutrition assistance, and so much more. This is good news for the American people.
He added that he and McCarthy had reached a budget agreement to ‘avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis.’
‘For weeks, extreme House Republicans tried to walk away from that deal by demanding drastic cuts that would have been devastating for millions of Americans. They failed,’ he said.
President Joe Biden said the threat of a federal government shutdown would have been a ‘unnecessary crisis’ and ‘we should never have been in this position’
‘While the Speaker and the overwhelming majority of Congress have been steadfast in their support for Ukraine, there is no new funding in this agreement to continue that support.
‘We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted.
‘I fully expect the Speaker will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment.’
The government will now be funded for an extra six weeks at fiscal year 2023 levels, set under Democratic control of Congress, while both chambers work on a longer-term spending plan to fund fiscal year 2024.
Saturday started off with no deal in sight to avert a government shutdown. But Speaker Kevin McCarthy scrapped plans to vote on a party-line stopgap spending plan after hardliners remained obstinate against it. Instead, he put a bipartisan deal on the floor that could threaten his speakership.
‘Bring it,’ he dared those trying to oust him for cutting a deal with Democrats.
The Senate scrapped plans to vote on its own continuing resolution (CR) – that would have included $6 billion in aid for Ukraine – and voted on the House’s ‘clean’ CR that simply extended current funding levels.
Senate Democrats fumed at the removal of Ukraine aid from the spending deal, though Republicans had vowed to deny them the 60-vote majority needed to pass the the Senate deal as they wanted to vote on the House plan and be done with the matter.
Meanwhile chaos unfolded on the House floor after McCarthy rushed a ‘clean’ CR to the floor when Democrats demanded more time to read the bill and make sure they weren’t being duped by Republicans.
‘The American people can breathe a sigh of relief. There will be no government shutdown,’ Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said
As the deadline loomed, Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman also became the center of fury and Republican calls to be expelled from Congress for pulling a fire alarm just before a crucial vote
Democrat Rep. Jamal Bowman says claims he purposefully pulled a fire alarm to disrupt House Republicans as they debated a stopgap bill to avert a government shutdown are ‘BS.’
The New York representative was allegedly caught on camera pulling the stunt in the Cannon Building, which houses numerous Congressional office spaces.
‘I thought the alarm would open the door,’ Bowman told reporters about the incident.
‘I was rushing to make a vote, I was trying to get to a door.’
‘[Bowman] pulled a fire alarm in Cannon this morning,’ a spokesperson for the Congressional Administration Committee said. ‘An investigation into why it was pulled is underway.’
Bowman called the notion that he pulled the fire alarm to delay a vote ‘complete BS.’
Meanwhile, Speaker Kevin McCarthy dared his conservative critics to try to oust him as they have long threatened in a press conference after the vote.
‘If somebody wants to make a motion against me, bring it,’ the speaker said. ‘There has to be an adult in the room.’
He also said there should be an Ethics Committee investigation into Bowman’s actions.
‘I’m going to have a discussion with the Democratic Leader about it, but this should not go without punishment.’
Republicans, led by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, N.Y., are now working on a resolution to expel Bowman from Congress, and Capitol Police were circulating a photo of what appeared to be Bowman pulling the alarm.
The last-minute deal followed chaotic scenes in the House where Speaker Kevin McCarthy dropped demands for massive spending cuts and had to rely on Democrats to pass a package without funding for Ukraine
Bowman’s antics led to an evacuation of the building, which came as House representatives were readying to vote on a bill that would avert a government shutdown less than 12 hours before a deadline.
The bill passed in a 335-91 vote, and now heads to the Senate. It will keep the government funded for 45 days.
Before the bill’s passing Democrats had been trying to delay the vote to give them time to read the text and make sure they could support it.
Ninety Republicans against the continuing resolution (CR) that extends government funding at 2023 levels beyond the midnight deadline. Only one Democrat – Rep. Mike Quigley, Ill., opposed it. He wanted it to include Ukraine funding.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has long said that if McCarthy cut a deal with Democrats to get a CR across the floor he would launch a movement to oust him immediately.
Gaetz moved to speak on the House floor Saturday after the vote but the House adjourned until Monday – ensuring that any plan to bring forward a motion to vacate the speakership will have to wait until then.
President Joe Biden is set to meet with his Cabinet early next week to discuss how the government will function after the anticipated shutdown begins on Sunday
The stopgap funding bill’s passage came after concerns it could be held up by party infighting, and comes as a relief as the potential shutdown could have jeopardized the livelihoods of millions of Americans.
The passage today saw officials hash out 45 day continuing resolution deal which would supply disaster relief funds, an extension of the federal flood insurance program and FAA reauthorization.
It remains uncertain whether the bill will survive as it heads to the Senate, where a procedural vote has yet to be scheduled. The government will officially shut down at midnight if lawmakers cannot land a deal.
Republicans had spent up until almost the last minute trying to pass a party-line CR that included steep funding cuts and border security provisions. But with 21 Republicans opposed to that plan as of Friday, Speaker Kevin McCarthy finally had enough and agreed to put a clean funding extension on the floor that had Democratic support – and did not include conservative priorities.
He was always going to have to put a bipartisan deal on the floor at the end in order for it to pass the Senate, but a Republican-only deal would have been a messaging win on spending cuts and could have been a starting point for negotiations.
Democrats celebrated the deal as a win – since it did not include the priorities Republicans had been pushing for
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on X: ‘Here’s what went down: we just won a clean 45 day gov extension, stripped GOP’s earlier 30% cuts to Social Security admin etc, staved off last minute anti-immigrant hijinks, and averted shutdown (for now). People will get paychecks and MTG threw a tantrum on the way out. Win-win.’
Much of the dispute has been focused on Biden’s aggressive funding of the conflict in Ukraine, with firebrand Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene slamming the bill she voted no on ‘America last’ on Saturday.
The stopgap bill crucially did not include any aid to Ukraine.
Before the vote, House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar said Republican opposition to Ukraine war funding was a ‘huge problem’.
‘Kevin McCarthy and the Republican conference have proven time and time again that they don’t care about the freedom of the Ukrainian people, and they turn their backs on them time and time again,’ Aguilar said. ‘And his anti-Ukraine, pro-Putin caucus is pretty strong.’
It was feared the government shutdown could have dragged on for weeks
Friday’s failed vote was a brutal defeat for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who has faced relentless criticism from the right of his party
The House Speaker has faced stern opposition from hardline Republican representatives including Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz (pictured)
As fears mounted over the shutdown, President Biden readied to convene his cabinet next week to discuss how the government will function.
If the government had shut down, two million members of the military and one and half million federal civilian employees will go without pay until lawmakers can strike a deal.
Over half the civilian employees will be furloughed, and the rest will have to show up for work without payment.
The bill that failed on Friday included a number of staunchly conservative policies that were not included in the stopgap bill on Saturday, which McCarthy indicated was to kick the can down the road while he hashed out a new deal.
‘I want to keep government open while we finish our job,’ he told reporters.
As the situation teeters on the brink of a shutdown, the Biden administration had said it was engaged in regular communication with its staff and agencies on what to expect if there is no government funding.
The agencies started to make their own contingency plans in the event of a shutdown.
‘We understand uncertainty can be unsettling,’ the White House told employees in an email.
‘Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and patience through this process, and for all that you do for the Executive Office of the President and the American people.’
A shutdown would have meant flight mayhem, garbage piling up, national parks shuttered and members of the military not getting paid.
Republican firebrand Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene told reporters on Saturday that she wouldn’t approve policies funding the conflict in Ukraine, which she dubbed ‘America last’
McCarthy urged his colleagues to pass his stopgap bill to keep government open while we finish our job.’ President Biden has readied his cabinet to convene next week to grapple with the effects of a shutdown
Before the stopgap bill was voted on, Democrats pulled stunts to buy time to read the details of the bill and indicated they would not vote to approve it right away.
House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries took to the floor shortly after midday to use ‘magic minutes’, an unlimited amount of speaking time, to extend the vote further.
He demanded that Republicans kept to their word on agreeing to avoid a shutdown, saying he wanted to ‘have a conversation with the American people. So strap in, because this may take a little while.’