The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a temporary spending bill that would avert a government shutdown, with broad support from lawmakers in both parties.
The legislation, which would extend state funding through mid-January, now heads to the Senate, where Democratic and Republican leaders have expressed support.
To avoid a shutdown, the Republican-controlled Senate and House must pass legislation that President Joe Biden can sign into law before current funding for federal agencies expires at midnight Friday.
The 336-95 vote was a victory for House Speaker Mike Johnson, who faced opposition from some of his Republican colleagues, in the first consecutive vote of his term.
Johnson was elected to office less than three weeks ago, after weeks of turmoil left the chamber without a leader. With a slim 221-213 majority, he can afford to lose no more than three Republican votes on legislation that Democrats oppose.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said in a statement Tuesday night after the vote that he was pleased the bill passed “with a strong bipartisan vote,” adding that he would work with his Senate Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell , to pass. the “as soon as possible”.
The spending bill would extend government funding at current levels through 2024, giving lawmakers more time to craft detailed spending bills that cover everything from the military to scientific research.
Reading US Congress averts historic bankruptcy
Some Republicans on the right side of the party said they were disappointed it did not include the sharp spending cuts and border security measures they sought.
The bill passed with a vote of 209 Democrats and 127 Republicans, with 93 Republicans and two Democrats voting against it.
Johnson’s predecessor as speaker, Kevin McCarthy, was ousted by a handful of Republicans after a similar vote in September relied on Democratic votes to prevent a shutdown.
But hard-line conservatives said they were not turning against Johnson. “We don’t support it. But we do support him,” spokesman Bob Good said.
Other Republicans said it was better than other options.
“This is not ideal,” said Republican Representative Mike Garcia. “But a shutdown is a much worse world.”
Johnson’s bill would extend funding for military construction, veterans benefits, transportation, housing, urban development, agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and energy and water programs through Jan. 19. Funding for all other federal businesses — including defense — will end on February 2.
Congress is in its third budget showdown this year, following a months-long spring impasse over the more than $31 trillion US debt that brought the federal government to the brink of bankruptcy.
The ongoing partisan impasse led Moody’s on Friday to cut the outlook for the US credit rating to “negative” from “stable”, as it noted that high interest rates will continue to push up borrowing costs.
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