Monday 2 October 2023

Congress passes last-minute stopgap bill to avert government shutdown without Ukraine aid, Biden attacks 'extreme House Republicans'

 Congress passed a last-minute stopgap bill to avert a government shutdown. Notably, the funding package does not include aid for Ukraine – a demand that Democrats had rallied around.

Within just hours of the midnight deadline, the Senate passed a temporary measure to avoid a government shutdown. The bill funds the federal government at current 2023 levels through Nov. 17. 

The package was approved on Saturday afternoon by the House by a vote 335-91. The Senate passed on Saturday night with an 88-9 vote.

The bill will next go to President Joe Biden to sign into law.

The bill includes an additional $16 billion in natural disaster aid. However, the bill does not include any Ukraine aid.

Biden blamed "extreme House Republicans" for the "manufactured crisis."

"Just a few months ago, Speaker McCarthy and I reached a budget agreement to avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis," the White House said in a statement. "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." 

The Biden administration warned against not providing more American tax dollars to the Ukraine war effort.

"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 White House stated. "We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted." 

President Joe Biden said he fully expects McCarthy "will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment."

The U.S. has already provided an estimated $75 billion in aid to Ukraine.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) blamed "MAGA extremists" for the potential government shutdown.

"Today, MAGA extremists have failed, bipartisanship has prevailed, and both parties have come together to avert a shutdown," Schumer tweeted.

"After trying to take our government hostage, MAGA Republicans won nothing," he added. "We funded the government and avoided all of the extreme, nasty, harmful cuts MAGA Republicans wanted."

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