The House of Representatives promptly cleared a stopgap package on Tuesday, in a crucial step toward averting a government shutdown.
This legislative stride sets the stage for a crucial sequence of events in Congress while propelling discussions for a more comprehensive funding debate in the approaching new year.
House of Representatives Bipartisan Vote
The ball is now in the Senate’s court, poised to deliberate and hopefully give its nod of approval to the measure. President Joe Biden stands ready to endorse the bill should it successfully navigate the Senate’s deliberation, as affirmed by a White House official. This legislative maneuver comes as the current government funding deadline looms, scheduled to expire on Friday, November 17.
The House’s bipartisan consensus in favor of the stopgap bill, endorsed with a notable vote of 336 to 95, showcases a significant divide between Democrats and Republicans. Notably, House Speaker Mike Johnson faces a warning sign as more Democrats rallied behind the measure compared to Republicans.
The bill saw support from 209 Democrats and 127 Republicans, while opposition stemmed from 93 Republicans and two Democrats. This legislative move underlines Johnson’s initial test of leadership, introducing an unconventional two-phase plan.
House Republicans’ Cautious Endorsement
The first phase extends funding until January 19, encompassing key sectors such as military construction, veterans’ affairs, transportation, housing, and the Energy Department. Meanwhile, the remainder of the government will receive funding until February 2, omitting additional aid for Israel or Ukraine.
Johnson’s rationale behind this approach emphasizes the necessity to avoid a massive last-minute spending bill in December, a recurring scenario during previous deadlines before the winter holidays. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s removal followed a similar stopgap bill presented in September, hinting at potential internal turmoil.
Contrary to initial opposition, Johnson has received a cautious endorsement from many House Republicans, even from those who opposed the bill. This cautious support echoes sentiments of trust and a departure from McCarthy’s leadership style.
In defending his strategy to prevent a government shutdown, Johnson emphasized the contrast between his handling of the situation and McCarthy’s approach. This critical moment in Congress portends an arduous path ahead, with intricate negotiations looming for full-year spending bills amid pronounced partisan divides.