House votes to avert government shutdown

The House speaker offered a two-step continuing resolution.

WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday voted to approve a stopgap funding measure that would avert a government shutdown.

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The measure, which passed by a 336-95 bipartisan margin, now heads to the Senate, which must approve the resolution and send it to President Joe Biden’s desk before 12:01 a.m. EST on Saturday.

“If it passes the Senate, the President will sign this continuing resolution that maintains current funding levels and has no harmful policy riders,” a White House official told CNN.

The measure was approved by 209 Democrats and 127 Republicans, The New York Times reported. Ninety-three Republicans were opposed to the resolution, along with two Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters that he wanted the Senate to vote on the bill “as soon as possible,” according to the newspaper.

The bill passed under a process called “suspension of the rules,” which required two-thirds of the chamber to approve the measure, The Washington Post reported.

The move was a victory for new speaker Mike Johnson, who had to reach across the aisle to Democrats in order to pass the continuing, two-step resolution.

“What we’ve seen is they cannot do rational policy without our votes,” Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said after the vote, according to the Post. “We’re hoisted on the petard of a large number of nihilists in the Republican Party.”

The first continuing resolution extends funding until Jan. 19, 2024, according to the newspaper reported. The measure would include funding for military and veterans programs, agriculture and food agencies, and cash to the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, according to the newspaper.

The second phase of funding would prevent a shutdown until Feb. 2, 2024, and would include cash to the State, Justice, Commerce, Labor and Health and Human Services departments, the Post reported.

The proposal extends funding at current levels and does not include more aid for Israel or Ukraine, according to CNN. It also excludes funding at the U.S. border with Mexico, The Associated Press reported.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus had expressed opposition to the funding plan, CNN reported. Johnson reportedly met with the group on Monday night.

Before the vote, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., a member of the hard-right caucus, urged Republicans on the House floor to vote for the short-term funding bill, according to the Post.

A laddered measure like Johnson’s proposal has never been attempted by Congress, according to the newspaper.

In 1991, a continuing resolution extended federal funding for 45 days but gave a longer deadline to the State Department and foreign operations so it could accommodate negotiations between President George H.W. Bush and Congress as they haggled over economic development aid to Israel, the Post reported.

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