Congress Passes Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

Posted on 02/29/24 | News Source: WSJ

Congress approved a temporary spending bill to prevent a partial government shutdown this weekend, with Speaker Mike Johnson (R., La.) forced once again to turn to a coalition made up mostly of Democrats to clear it in the House, followed by passage in the Senate.

The Thursday afternoon House vote was 320 to 99, with slightly more than half of Republicans joining with almost all Democrats to support the measure. The Democratic-led Senate passed the bill 77-13 Thursday evening. Now it heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature.

“I am happy to inform the American people that there will be no government shutdown on Friday,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.). “And now, let’s finish the job of funding the government so we don’t have to do this again,” he added, referring to funding all of fiscal year 2024.

Some House Republicans had emerged from a closed-door meeting ahead of the vote saying they were frustrated that Johnson was asking them to support another deadline extension without more spending cuts or other conservative victories. Thursday’s stopgap measure was the third passed with Democrats during Johnson’s speakership, and will buy negotiators more time to then pass full-year spending bills next month, under a framework agreed with Democrats.

The disunity among Republicans means Johnson had to bypass normal procedures and instead bring the bill to the floor using a special approach that requires a two-thirds supermajority, rather than a simple majority.

In the vote, most Republicans backed the speaker, with 113 GOP lawmakers supporting the short-term deal and 97 voting against it. On the Democratic side, all but two lawmakers—Reps. Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts and Mike Quigley of Illinois who are protesting the lack of funding for Ukraine—voted in favor of the measure.