House Democrats passed a government funding bill on Friday, despite opposition from Republicans who wanted to secure more concessions from President Biden to avert a government shutdown.
In a 230-201 vote, the House of Representatives passed legislation to keep the government running through Dec. 16. The two-month timeline gives Democrats and Republicans more time to negotiate a yearlong budget deal before the new Congress takes office in January.
“It gives us time to work out a longer-term bill, which we can vote on after the election,” said House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass.
The funding bill, which already passed the Senate earlier this week, now heads to President Biden’s desk for signature. Its passage in the House came despite strong pushback from Republicans.
SENATE PASSES SHORT-TERM GOVERNMENT FUNDING BILL TO AVERT SHUTDOWN
GOP support for the funding bill differed strongly between the House and Senate. Earlier this week, 22 Senate Republicans led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell crossed party-lines to vote for keeping the government open.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., actively whipped against the bill, calling it a missed opportunity. Republicans argue that the legislation does too little to address GOP priorities like the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“This was one of our only vehicles to control what’s happening at the southern border,” said Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md. “We should stop giving the Biden administration money to do things we oppose.”
MISSED OPPORTUNITY? HOUSE GOP SAYS MCCONNELL LOST LEVERAGE OVER BIDEN BY BACKING GOVERNMENT FUNDING BILL
GOP lawmakers also worry they could be robbed of an opportunity to put their imprint on the federal budget if such a yearlong deal is struck in the lame duck session. Rather than the mid-December deadline, McCarthy and House Republicans wanted the stop-gap to run until January when the new Congress takes office.
“A deal that vanquished poison pills and went to January would enhance the leverage of Republicans, who are expected to win the House majority, to dictate policy terms,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. “Instead, what McConnell and others have done is to diminish that leverage.”
Not every Republican was sold on the argument, however. Ten GOP lawmakers voted with nearly every single Democrat to keep the government open.
The bill includes over $12 billion in aid to Ukraine as it works to fight off an invasion by Russia. The new round of money is set to boost to more than $65 billion the total amount Congress has approved to help Ukraine militarily and stave off economic collapse.
The stop-gap also includes more federal funding for the resettlement of Afghan refugees, disaster aid for Kentucky and Mississippi, and new subsidies for winter heating assistance for low-income and elderly Americans.
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“This is a bipartisan bill. It earned 72 votes in the Senate,” McGovern remarked. “I don’t think you can get 72 votes in the Senate on what to have for lunch let alone on government funding legislation.”