NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, November 14th, 2023

U.S. House passes another stopgap spending bill to avert shutdown, thanks to Democrats

The Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives today vot­ed to keep the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment open for sev­er­al more months after new Speak­er Mike John­son orches­trat­ed a vote on a stop­gap spend­ing bill not weighed down with an ultra MAGA wish­list of pol­i­cy rid­ers that the Sen­ate and Pres­i­dent Biden would oppose.

Though they were pre­vi­ous­ly not enthu­si­as­tic about John­son’s plan to avert a shut­down, Democ­rats pro­vid­ed most of the votes for the leg­is­la­tion, with the Repub­li­can cau­cus sig­nif­i­cant­ly split, just as it was back in Sep­tem­ber when ex-Speak­er Kevin McCarthy made a sim­i­lar move at the eleventh hour in order to avert a shut­down that would be polit­i­cal­ly cost­ly to Republicans.

The House vote on H.R. 6363, the Fur­ther Con­tin­u­ing Appro­pri­a­tions and Oth­er Exten­sions Act, 2024, was 336 to 95, with 3 not vot­ing.

127 Repub­li­cans vot­ed yea along with 209 Democrats.

93 Repub­li­cans vot­ed nay along with two Democ­rats. The Democ­rats vot­ing nay were Jake Auch­in­closs of Mass­a­chu­setts and Mike Quigley of Illinois.

Democ­rats Nan­cy Pelosi and Kevin Mullin of Cal­i­for­nia missed the vote, as did Repub­li­can Mike Ezell of Mississippi.

The roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west was as follows:

Vot­ing Yea to keep the fed­er­al 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), Mary Pel­to­la (AK); Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers and Dan New­house (WA), Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRe­mer (OR), Mike Simp­son (ID)

Vot­ing Nay to shut down the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment: Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher (ID), Matt Rosendale and Ryan Zinke (MT)

Of the PNW del­e­ga­tion, only the three most ultra MAGA Repub­li­cans from Mon­tana and Ida­ho vot­ed to shut down the fed­er­al government.

The bil­l’s offi­cial sum­ma­ry, pro­vid­ed by the non­par­ti­san Con­gres­sion­al Research Ser­vice, known as CRS for short, is as follows:

This bill pro­vides con­tin­u­ing FY2024 appro­pri­a­tions for fed­er­al agen­cies and extends sev­er­al expir­ing pro­grams and authorities.

It is known as a con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion (CR) and pre­vents a gov­ern­ment shut­down that would oth­er­wise occur if the FY2024 appro­pri­a­tions bills have not been enact­ed when the exist­ing CR expires on Novem­ber 17, 2023.

The CR gen­er­al­ly funds most pro­grams and activ­i­ties at the FY 2023 lev­els with sev­er­al excep­tions that pro­vide fund­ing flex­i­bil­i­ty and addi­tion­al appro­pri­a­tions for var­i­ous programs.

The CR pro­vides fund­ing through Jan­u­ary 19, 2024, for agen­cies and pro­grams that were fund­ed in the fol­low­ing four FY 2023 appro­pri­a­tions acts:

  • the Agri­cul­ture, Rur­al Devel­op­ment, Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion, and Relat­ed Agen­cies Appro­pri­a­tions Act, 2023;
  • the Ener­gy and Water Devel­op­ment and Relat­ed Agen­cies Appro­pri­a­tions Act, 2023;
  • the Mil­i­tary Con­struc­tion, Vet­er­ans Affairs, and Relat­ed Agen­cies Appro­pri­a­tions Act, 2023; and
  • the Trans­porta­tion, Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment, and Relat­ed Agen­cies Appro­pri­a­tions Act, 2023.

For most oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies and pro­grams, the CR pro­vides fund­ing through Feb­ru­ary 2, 2024.

The CR also extends sev­er­al pro­grams and author­i­ties, including

  • pro­grams autho­rized by the Agri­cul­ture Improve­ment Act of 2018 (com­mon­ly known as the 2018 farm bill),
  • sev­er­al pub­lic health pro­grams and authorities,
  • the U.S. Parole Com­mis­sion, and
  • the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty’s Coun­ter­ing Weapons of Mass Destruc­tion Office.

“The pas­sage of today’s con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion puts House Repub­li­cans in the best posi­tion to fight for con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­cy vic­to­ries,” argued Speak­er Mike John­son in a state­ment. “The inno­v­a­tive two-step approach takes Washington’s pre­ferred Christ­mas omnibus mon­stros­i­ty off the table, shifts the gov­ern­ment fund­ing par­a­digm mov­ing for­ward, and enhances our abil­i­ty to rein in the Biden administration’s failed poli­cies and gov­ern­ment spend­ing. We also are bet­ter posi­tioned in the upcom­ing sup­ple­men­tal debate to demand Bor­der Secu­ri­ty, ensure over­sight of Ukraine aid, and sup­port our cher­ished ally, Israel.”

As John­son’s state­ment alludes to, the con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion does­n’t include aid for Ukraine or Israel, which are pri­or­i­ties for the Biden-Har­ris administration.

But it does stave off a gov­ern­ment shut­down for a while.

“From the very begin­ning of the Con­gress, House Democ­rats have made clear that we will always put peo­ple over pol­i­tics and try to find com­mon ground with our Repub­li­can col­leagues wher­ev­er pos­si­ble, while push­ing back against Repub­li­can extrem­ism when­ev­er nec­es­sary,” said House Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Hakeem Jef­fries, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Whip Kather­ine Clark, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cau­cus Chair Pete Aguilar and Vice Chair Ted Lieu in a joint state­ment.

“That is the frame­work through which we will eval­u­ate all issues before us this Con­gress. We have con­sis­tent­ly made clear that a gov­ern­ment shut­down would hurt the econ­o­my, our nation­al secu­ri­ty and every­day Amer­i­cans dur­ing a very frag­ile time and must be avoid­ed,” the quar­tet added.

“To that end, House Democ­rats have repeat­ed­ly artic­u­lat­ed that any con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion must be set at the fis­cal year 2023 spend­ing lev­el, be devoid of harm­ful cuts and free of extreme right-wing pol­i­cy rid­ers. The con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion before the House today meets that cri­te­ria and we will sup­port it.”

“Mov­ing for­ward, it is impor­tant that Con­gress comes togeth­er to advance the sup­ple­men­tal nation­al secu­ri­ty and domes­tic pol­i­cy fund­ing request­ed by Pres­i­dent Joe Biden. In addi­tion, it is time for House Repub­li­cans to final­ly work with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cau­cus and the Sen­ate on all twelve appro­pri­a­tions bills in a man­ner con­sis­tent with the Bipar­ti­san Fis­cal Respon­si­bil­i­ty Act.”

“We must com­plete the work of the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” they concluded.

The Sen­ate is expect­ed to con­cur and send the leg­is­la­tion to Pres­i­dent Biden.

If you’re won­der­ing whether the extreme right is unhap­py with their new Speak­er over this, the answer is yes. But hav­ing just oust­ed McCarthy, which caused weeks of paral­y­sis, and hav­ing now had no suc­cess advanc­ing their shut­down agen­da as a result of that maneu­ver, they’re not plot­ting John­son’s downfall.

At least not yet.

“Many House con­ser­v­a­tives are fum­ing that John­son — the most ide­o­log­i­cal­ly con­ser­v­a­tive speak­er in decades — refused to take a hard line in his first attempt nego­ti­at­ing with Democ­rats and instead leaned on them for help,” Politi­co report­ed. “In the end, more Democ­rats vot­ed for the mea­sure than Repub­li­cans, in near­ly iden­ti­cal num­bers to the Sep­tem­ber stop­gap mea­sure that trig­gered McCarthy’s fir­ing. Some tore into his strat­e­gy in a closed-door meet­ing Tues­day, argu­ing that his plan, which would allow fund­ing lev­els set under Nan­cy Pelosi to per­sist for months, is tan­ta­mount to surrender.”

Only an unhinged extrem­ist would argue that sim­ply keep­ing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment open for a few more weeks at pre­vi­ous­ly adopt­ed fund­ing lev­els is “tan­ta­mount to sur­ren­der.” But it’s 2023 and this is sad­ly the envi­ron­ment Con­gress is attempt­ing to func­tion in. It’s dis­ap­point­ing and pathetic.

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