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Democrats and Republicans Pulled Off
After just a few hours remaining, House Republicans and Democrats reached an astonishing compromise on Saturday to provide funds to the government and prevent a shutdown, potentially sparing millions of American families from financial hardship.
The House voted heavily, with a bipartisan basis of 335-91, for a short-term funding bill known as a Continuing Resolution (CR); 209 Democrats and 126 Republicans voted in favor, while 90 Republicans voted against it. Only one Democrat, Representative Mike Quigley of Illinois, did not vote in favor of helping Ukraine.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California said after the vote, “It was tough, but we got it done.”
The bill will now go to the Senate, where lawmakers there are expected to not object to swift voting; a Senate Democratic caucus meeting is expected in the next few hours for the vote.
If signed into law by President Joe Biden, this legislation will keep the government open for the next 45 days. This gives Congress and the Senate more time to complete the full-fledged funding law.
This surprising deal happened when McCarthy flipped the script and placed a so-called “clean” 45-day CR on the floor, which contained aid for Arab countries but none for Ukraine, after days of pushing a separate Senate deal with new assistance for Ukraine into focus. The short-term funding bill will require significant cuts in spending and include strict border security measures.
By putting a clean bill on the table, McCarthy challenged the Democrats to vote against it and shut down the government. Democrats expressed their discontent with the lack of assistance to Ukraine and harshly complained that they didn’t have time to read the 71-page bill, using procedural tactics and lengthy speeches to stall so they could study the details.
We are about to have a government shutdown. Representative Hakeem Jeffries, D-New York, claimed in a 52-minute speech that “the law comes off the American people in 11 hours.” And we’ve been told that you have 5 or 10 minutes to assess a law that is more than 70 pages long. We hope you will believe what our distinguished M.A.G.A. Republicans say.
However, in the end, it was a good deal for Democrats, who have a significant majority, and in the final minutes before the vote, Jeffries began urging common Democrats to vote “yes,” lawmakers said.
Annie Kuster, chairwoman of the New Democrat Coalition, said in a statement, “Let’s be clear: this is not an ideal deal or a permanent solution, but New Dems are committed to avoiding a shutdown and protecting our economy. We support this solution to end the immediate crisis, continue our support for Ukraine with additional funding demands, and work tirelessly to ensure they receive the necessary assistance to win this war.”
McCarthy’s bold move raises another important question: what does this mean for his political future?
McCarthy’s top rival, Representative Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., had been threatening for weeks to move against him if he brought a CR to the House floor, especially one that relied on Democratic votes to pass. Now that McCarthy has done just that, all eyes are on whether Gaetz will follow through on his threat.
Gaetz, a bomb-throwing Trump ally and former top aide to former President Donald Trump, had said he would offer a motion to vacate the chair or vote to remove McCarthy from office. After the CR passed, Gaetz sought to attract the attention of the media and made it clear that any funding deal should always be bipartisan.
“There is no bill that can pass with one side or the other,” McCarthy said, his voice animated and fast-paced. “When are you going to get over that you put America first? That it’s okay for Republicans and Democrats to come together and do what’s right.”
If someone wants to file a motion to evict me, file it, he continued.
Earlier on Saturday, Republican leaders had privately accepted in a closed-door meeting that they lacked the support of enough Republican votes to pass any CR.
Several frustrated lawmakers said that a shutdown, which will halt paychecks for 4 million federal workers and other federal workers, close federal parks and monuments, and disrupt food and education programs for low-income children, was almost inevitable.
Shortly after, McCarthy announced that he would bring a 45-day CR to the floor, hoping to inspire Gates and other recalcitrant opponents to rally support and remove them.
“I think Kevin McCarthy has done an extraordinary job as speaker,” said one of McCarthy’s allies, Representative Mike Lollar, R-Ark., a moderate face who faced a tough reelection next year. “The party has gotten smaller with him continuously.”
Therefore, anyone who wants to make a motion to vacate will be able to do so at the end of the meeting.