The House on Saturday approved a “clean” stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown, sending the legislation to the Senate for consideration hours before the midnight funding deadline.
The measure would keep the government funded at current spending levels for 45 days and it includes $16 billion in disaster relief — matching the figure the White House included in a supplemental request. It does not include Ukraine aid or border policy changes.
The chamber cleared the stopgap bill in an overwhelmingly bipartisan 335-91 vote hours after Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) rolled out the proposal. One Democrat and 90 Republicans voted against the measure.
The plan marked a stark shift in his posture when it comes to government funding. And it could spell trouble for his Speakership as conservatives heighten their threats to confiscate his gavel.
At the same time, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Senate Republicans would not allow the upper chamber’s bipartisan continuing resolution (CR) to advance, deferring to the House plan.
That proposal would keep the government funded through Nov. 17 and it includes $5.99 billion in disaster relief and $6.15 billion in Ukraine aid.
McCarthy told members of his conference earlier this week that he would not bring the Senate measure to the floor for a vote after a number of conservatives voiced concern with the inclusion of Ukraine funding and the lack of border security provisions. Support for Ukraine has become a hot-button issue in the House GOP conference.
McCarthy bringing a clean stopgap bill to the floor was a departure from his previous stance on government funding.
The Speaker in recent weeks had been pushing his conference to coalesce around a GOP-crafted stopgap bill that includes border security, a move that was designed to give Republicans greater leverage in negotiations with Senate Democrats and the White House. He had brushed aside the possibility of working with Democrats to avert a shutdown, underscoring the importance of getting border security provisions in any funding measure.
But on Friday, a band of 21 conservatives voted down that GOP stopgap bill, leaving McCarthy with few options to avert a shutdown ahead of the looming deadline. Hours after the failed vote, the Speaker floated a “clean” stopgap bill without Ukraine, following through with that idea Saturday morning.
While the Saturday vote brings the country one step closer to averting a shutdown, it also puts McCarthy at a greater threat of losing his gavel. Hard-line Republicans for weeks had been publicly warning that the Speaker could face a vote on his ouster if he worked with Democrats to fund the government.
“If Kevin McCarthy puts a continuing resolution on the floor, it’s going to be shot, chaser; continuing resolution, motion to vacate,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), one of McCarthy’s foremost adversaries, said earlier this month.
McCarthy, for his part, brushed aside those threats on Saturday.
“If someone wants to remove because I want to be the adult in the room, go ahead and try,” he told reporters.
“But I think this country is too important. And I will stand with our military. I’ll stand with our border agents. I’ll stand with those that have to get their medicine from government as well,” McCarthy added. “I think that’s too important.”
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