The US House of Representatives has approved a stopgap spending bill that could avert a government shutdown. The proposed resolution, which passed in a 335-91 vote, will keep the government open for the next 45 days at the current spending level. However, despite President Biden’s request, the bill does not include aid to Ukraine, though it adds billions of dollars in funding for US disaster relief.
The bill, referred to as a ‘clean’ bill by Republicans, received more support from Democrats than Republicans. Only one Democrat voted against the short-term funding measure. While the bill ensures that federal operations will continue at the current spending level, it does not allocate the $20 billion funding that President Biden deemed necessary for Ukraine.
During a speech on the House floor, Rep. Michael Lawler (R-N.Y.) urged his colleagues not to allow the government to shut down simply because the aid for Ukraine was not included in the bill. Lawler stated, “If you’re telling the American people with a straight face you will shut down the American government over Ukraine, then shame on you.”
The bill now moves to the Senate with just over 9 hours left before the shutdown deadline. The House has adjourned until Monday afternoon, meaning that lawmakers will not have an opportunity to propose an alternative if the Senate fails to approve the legislation. With the government shutdown looming at midnight, the Senate faces immense pressure to pass the bill even without aid for Ukraine.
The new bill was introduced by Republicans on Saturday morning after a previous plan that included steep social spending cuts and tougher border security measures was rejected on Friday.
The absence of aid for Ukraine has generated debate and criticism. President Biden has called for assistance to Ukraine as it faces ongoing tensions with Russia. However, some lawmakers argue that a failure to pass the bill and risk a government shutdown over the exclusion of aid for Ukraine would not be in the best interest of the American people.
As the Senate deliberates on the bill, the outcome remains uncertain. The decision will have significant implications for the government’s operations and its response to ongoing challenges, including disaster relief efforts.