President Biden signs continuing resolution
President Biden signs H.R. 5860 (White House photo)

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)

The Repub­li­cans in the Sen­ate who vot­ed to shut down the gov­ern­ment were:

  1. Mar­sha Black­burn (R‑TN)
  2. Mike Braun (R‑IN)
  3. Ted Cruz (R‑TX)
  4. Bill Hager­ty (R‑TN)
  5. Mike Lee (R‑UT)
  6. Roger Mar­shall (R‑KS)
  7. Rand Paul (R‑KY)
  8. Eric Schmitt (R‑MO)
  9. 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.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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