House Passes Short-Term Spending Bill To Prevent Government Shutdown

In a strong bipartisan move, the House of Representatives has passed a short-term spending bill just in time to avoid a government shutdown looming on Nov. 17. This move, undertaken to ensure the smooth operation of government functions, received overwhelming support with a final tally of 336-95, surpassing the two-thirds majority required for approval.

The effort saw 209 Democrats lending their support to the measure, significantly outnumbering the 127 Republicans who voted in favor. The representatives who voted against the bill include two Democrats and 93 Republicans.

The backdrop for this move was the extension of government funding for fiscal year 2023 until Nov. 17. While the extension was meant to provide Congress with more time to pass the 12 individual appropriations bills, determining spending priorities for the coming year, Congressional leaders reached a consensus on the necessity of another short-term extension, known as a continuing resolution.

This two-step continuing resolution aims to address spending priorities and ensure the government functions efficiently by extending funding for some federal agencies until mid-January while others receive funding through early February. 

If successful, the idea of consolidating all 12 spending bills into a massive “omnibus” package, as previously suggested by Congressional Democrats, will be squashed.

Notably, the bill refrains from attaching supplemental funds for pressing national security matters, as this is a separate agenda that GOP leadership intends to address independently.  

However, it did not have the support of Conservative Republicans, including members of the Freedom Caucus, because of its lack of spending cuts and conservative policy changes.

The bill now proceeds to the Democrat-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has indicated his intention to address it expeditiously. Schumer commended new House Speaker Johnson (R-LA) for choosing not to pursue spending cuts or alterations to Biden Administration policies in the spending package, labeling the bill “a responsible measure.”

The legislation also enjoys support from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and is expected to see a smooth pass through the Senate to President Joe Biden’s desk before Friday midnight.

Should the Senate grant its approval and Biden sign the measure into law, a government shutdown will be averted, and lawmakers will have more time to deliberate on the full-year spending bills.

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