Senate passes House’s stopgap measure, averting shutdown

November 16, 2023

The Senate voted late Wednesday night in favor of House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) stopgap spending measure, averting a government shutdown in less than three days.

The vote in the Senate was 87-11 with one Democrat and 10 Republicans voting against it. The bill next heads to Biden to be signed.

Johnson’s measure extends funding for some government programs until January 19 while it continues to fund other programs until February 2.

It does not include he $106 billion in new spending that President Biden requested to help fund Israel in its war against Hamas, Ukraine in its war against Russia, and beefed-up security on the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Even so, Senate Minority Leader  Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who backed tying together funding for Ukraine and Israel, praised Johnson’s bill on Monday as “a responsible measure that will keep the lights on, avoid a harmful lapse in federal spending” and allow Congress to complete work on annual spending bills over the next two months.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also supported the bill, calling it “a responsible measure that will keep the lights on, avoid a harmful lapse in federal spending” and allow Congress to complete work on annual spending bills over the next two months.

While a majority of Democratic votes passing the measure in the Democratic-majority Senate was expected, it was also a majority of Democrats in the Republican-controlled House who voted to pass the Republican Speaker’s bill on Tuesday.

The House vote was 336 in favor and 95 against, with 209 Democrats voting yes alongside 127 Republicans in the lower chamber.

In September, then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted from the House leadership position after agreeing to send the initial stopgap to the lower chamber floor for a vote, where more Democrats voted in favor of its passage than Republicans—though it did avert a government shutdown by putting off the deadline to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2024 for 45 days. That deadline is now put off again.

Some of the same hardline Republicans who blasted McCarthy are now raising their voices against Johnson.

“We’re standing up and we said no today,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus said Tuesday after the House vote. “And the Speaker has now ten days to work it out and get Republicans to actually stand up and fight when we get back [from Thanksgiving break]. He’s promising a fight, so we’re sending a message right now: we expect that fight.”

He added that when Congress gets back from Thanksgiving break, “We need a plan to reduce spending overall from ’23 to ’24, pay for any supplemental spending, stop sending blank check money to Ukraine, stand with Israel, hold the Senate in check, and do what we need to do to secure the Southern border.” 

PHOTO: Senate vote on stopgap funding

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