Federal Government Passes Stop-Gap Funding Bill At Eleventh Hour

Congress managed to pass a temporary compromise late on September 30 to prevent a shutdown of the government. Congress had until midnight Saturday to agree on a budget plan but was unable to arrive at a long-term plan that satisfied the various factions within the parties. The temporary measure gives lawmakers until November 17 to arrive at a solution.

The House of Representatives was first to pass the bill on Saturday afternoon. It passed with a vote of 335-91. The measure gained support after Democrats abandoned efforts to tie funding for Ukraine with the spending bill. Ninety of the no votes were Republicans who held out on grounds that a temporary spending bill simply punts the ball to be dealt with later. In this case, Congress will have just 45 days to craft a spending bill that can receive bipartisan support.

The bill met much broader support in the Senate where it passed 88-9. Republicans who voted against the bill opposed it because of a lack of funding for border security.

President Joe Biden called on Congress to find a way to continue support for Ukraine. After the spending bill passed, Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced a plan to fund $6 billion for aid to Ukraine in a separate measure. An unidentified source told CBS News that the bill could be done in “two to three days” and that it is likely to have enough supporting votes to pass despite being a contentious issue with some Republicans.

McConnell used his sway as minority leader to rally the votes on the spending bill. In his closing, he asked members to consider the impact that failure would have on average Americans, particularly emphasizing military families. There are around 1.3 million active duty military members and approximately 16.2 million veterans who stood to lose pay or benefits during a government shutdown.

McConnell also believes that a separate bill can pass that addresses funding for border security to manage the illegal immigration crisis that is ongoing and to stem the flow of drugs like fentanyl that are causing surging overdose deaths all over the country.

Sens. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) both took to X after the vote to comment on the lack of border security funding. Both lawmakers were among the nine Republican no-votes in the Senate. Hagerty explained that he had promised that any bill lacking border funding would be unacceptable, a sentiment echoed by Marshall who called the situation at the southern border “our most immediate security threat.”

While the funding bill will keep the lights on in Washington D.C. for another 45 days, there is little indication of bipartisan support to break through some of the more serious demands to reduce spending. The American public is now facing a $33 trillion debt due to runaway spending.