To the astonishment of many pundits, who often lack imagination, Congress today voted to keep the federal government open and buy more time to pass a slew of longer-term appropriations bills — time that may end up getting squandered, but which will nevertheless provide a respite from the threat of a shutdown.
After weeks of squabbling and inaction, top House Republicans abruptly pivoted away from trying to placate the most extreme members of their caucus and offered up a stopgap funding bill they calculated would win Democratic support. It did, although not before House Democrats had combed through its text with a critical eye. Only one Democrat voted nay — Mike Quigley of Illinois, who wanted to justifiably make a statement about the lack of aid for Ukraine.
The vote in the House was 335 to 91; in the Senate, it was 88 to 9.
Hakeem Jeffries, whose caucus provided most of the votes needed to save the country from a manufactured fiscal disaster, celebrated the victory.
“From the beginning of this Congress, House Democrats have made clear that we will always put people over politics, seek bipartisan common ground wherever possible and fight Republican extremism whenever necessary,” said Jeffries and the House Democratic leadership team in a joint statement.”
“On the House Floor, we passed a spending bill that meets the needs of hardworking American taxpayers and provides billions for disaster assistance at the level requested by President Biden. House Democrats stopped reckless House Republicans from shutting down the government, protected Social Security and Medicare and prevented MAGA extremists from jamming their right-wing policy wish list — like further criminalizing abortion care and taking food out of the mouths of children — down the throats of the American people.”
“We thank the Biden administration and the House Democratic Caucus for their unity and strength throughout this process.”
“We also thank Leader Charles Schumer and Senate Democrats for diligently advancing a bipartisan spending agreement over the last several weeks that helped force House Republicans to do the right thing.”
“Tonight, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate voted to keep the government open, preventing an unnecessary crisis that would have inflicted needless pain on millions of hardworking Americans,” said President Joe Biden, who promptly signed H.R. 5860 after it reached his desk. “This bill ensures that active-duty troops will continue to get paid, travelers will be spared airport delays, millions of women and children will continue to have access to vital nutrition assistance, and so much more. This is good news for the American people.”
“But I want to be clear: we should never have been in this position in the first place. Just a few months ago, Speaker McCarthy and I reached a budget agreement to avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis. For weeks, extreme House Republicans tried to walk away from that deal by demanding drastic cuts that would have been devastating for millions of Americans. They failed.”
“While the Speaker and the overwhelming majority of Congress have been steadfast in their support for Ukraine, there is no new funding in this agreement to continue that support,” the President noted. “We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted. I fully expect the Speaker will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment.”
“Democrats bailed Kevin McCarthy out and saved our country from a MAGA Republican shutdown that would have had devastating consequences for our economy, millions of Americans, and our national security,” said DNC Chair Jaime Harrison. “Make no mistake – if not for Democrats’ leadership and competence, our government would be shutting down. This saga was unnecessary.”
“Kevin McCarthy reneged on a bipartisan budget agreement he agreed to earlier this year in order to win over the far-right fringes of his caucus. The American people have had enough of the House Republicans’ disastrous and incompetent leadership and voters will hold them accountable next year.”
“I have been down here all week saying again and again that the only way we can avoid a shutdown is a CR [continuing resolution] that can get bipartisan support to quickly pass the House and Senate,” said Washington’s senior United States Senator Patty Murray, the Senate President Pro Tempore, who chairs the powerful Appropriations Committee, in a floor speech.
“[T]onight, we had a bill from the House that passed in a bipartisan way—with nearly every House Democrat voting in support, and I am now glad the Senate has been able to pass it as well and get it to the President’s desk for his signature. This bill does not contain the devastating cuts House Republicans were pushing just yesterday. It does not contain the ineffective, partisan border provisions they were demanding. So M. President, there were good reasons to vote for it.”
Murray presided over the vote in the Senate to pass H.R. 5680.
With Republican Mitch McConnell and all of his deputies on board, not wanting to see a shutdown, the bill sailed right through the Senate, with only a brief pause requested by Colorado’s Michael Bennet for due diligence.
President Biden was waiting for the legislation at the White House and signed it shortly before midnight. The White House transmitted a message to its press list confirming H.R. 5680 had become a law just after 11 PM Eastern Time.
The Pacific Northwest’s congressional delegation voted overwhelmingly to keep the government open, with only Russ Fulcher of Idaho and Montana’s Ryan Zinke and Matt Rosendale opposed. The roll call in the House from our region was:
Voting Yea to keep the government open: Democratic Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith, and Marilyn Strickland (WA), Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Val Hoyle, and Andrea Salinas (OR); Republican Representatives Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR), Mike Simpson (ID)
Voting Nay to shut down the government: Republican Representatives Russ Fulcher (ID), Ryan Zinke and Matt Rosendale (MT)
Not voting: Democratic Representative Mary Peltola (AK)
The roll call in the Senate from the Pacific Northwest was unanimous:
Voting Yea to keep the government open: Democratic Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell (WA), Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (OR), Jon Tester (MT); Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (AK), Mike Crapo and Jim Risch (ID), Steve Daines (MT)
- Marsha Blackburn (R‑TN)
- Mike Braun (R‑IN)
- Ted Cruz (R‑TX)
- Bill Hagerty (R‑TN)
- Mike Lee (R‑UT)
- Roger Marshall (R‑KS)
- Rand Paul (R‑KY)
- Eric Schmitt (R‑MO)
- J.D. Vance (R‑OH)
NPI thanks each of those members of Congress who voted to keep the federal government open and prevent a costly shutdown. Congress still needs to change its fiscal and legislative defaults to eliminate the threat of future shutdowns.