Federal Government Shutdown Avoided Until November 17

In a surprising turn of events, Congress fast-tracked a continuing resolution (CR) at the 11th hour to keep the federal government operational though Friday, November 17. President Biden signed the bill into law just before midnight.

The bill (H.R.5860) is a “clean” CR, which means it maintains spending at FY2023 funding levels over the next 48-days. It also provides $16 billion in supplemental funding for disaster relief. However, it does not include border policies or supplemental Ukraine funding requested by the White House. In embracing the CR, the President called on Congress to quickly pass a separate Ukraine aid package.

The sudden turn of events came Thursday afternoon when House Speaker Kevin McCarthy abandoned a Republican-only CR in favor of a bipartisan approach to keep the government open. The CR passed 335-91 in the House shortly thereafter, followed by an 88-9 vote in the Senate early Saturday evening.

A more conservative House CR (H.R.5525) was unable to obtain the votes needed to pass yesterday, with 21 Republicans breaking with their party to vote against it. That bill would have cut most domestic programs by 30 percent and included tough border security measures. Even if it passed, it would have been dead-on-arrival in the Senate. Its failure and the passage of a bipartisan stopgap measure does not mean Republican priorities – including spending cuts, border security, and greater accountability for Ukraine aid – are on the backburner. The House is working to expeditiously finish all twelve FY24 appropriations bills, and many of these priorities will be included These issues will no doubt resurface during negotiations over a broader year-end spending package in the weeks ahead.

In the end, Speaker McCarthy did what conservative hardliners warned him not to do – he relied on Democrat votes to fund the government. “You know what, if somebody wants to remove [me] because I want to be ‘the adult in the room,’ go ahead and try,” he said in a press conference on Saturday. “But I think this country is too important, and I will stand with our military. I’ll stand with our border agents,” he added.

Note: This update is provided by courtesy of NEFI