US one step closer to avoiding government shutdown

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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy proposed the temporary bill on Saturday

By Antoinette Radford

BBC News

The US House of Representatives has approved a temporary funding bill aimed at avoiding a government shutdown due to start at midnight (05:00 GMT).

It includes disaster funds, but no US aid for Ukraine.

The 45-day resolution was proposed by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy after a rebellion by hard-line fellow Republicans who control the chamber.

The bill, however, needs the approval of the upper chamber, the Senate, before signature by the president.

Democrats have a one-seat majority in the Senate and the provision of US aid to Ukraine could be a sticking point there.

If no agreement is reached, the fourth shutdown to occur over the past decade will kick in and significantly affect everything from air travel to marriage licenses.

Most government employees will be furloughed without pay, and some food assistance programs could stop.

Numerous attempts to reach a consensus on a new federal funding package have failed.

The temporary extension, known as a continuing resolution (CR) required support from two-thirds of the House to pass due to a fast-track mechanism to get it through ahead of the midnight deadline.

The US funding package is set to expire on 1 October, at the start of the US federal government’s financial year.

Without a new deal, thousands of federal employees across the country are to be placed on unpaid leave, including members of the armed forces, air traffic control and those working in childcare centres.

The deal agreed on by Republicans and Democratic senators includes aid to Ukraine in the war against invading Russian forces, in addition to US disaster assistance.

Mr McCarthy has been constrained by hard-right Republicans and had refused – until now – to put a bill to the full House, including the Senate bill.

Instead, he tried and failed to get agreement on a Republican-drafted short-term spending bill on Friday, with 232 votes against the measure and 198 in favour.

More than a dozen of the most hardline Republican representatives voted against its passage.


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