House Lawmakers Approve Stopgap Spending Bill, Averting Government Shutdown

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Congressional lawmakers voted to approve a short-term funding bill on Wednesday night that will last through Dec. 23, averting a partial government shutdown.

The one-week extension resolution (pdf) passed in a 224–201 vote and will now head to the Senate to be considered. It will then be sent to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed before midnight on Friday to avoid a shutdown.

“This Continuing Resolution is a simple date change that keeps the government up and running as we negotiate the details of final 2023 spending bills,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the Democratic chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.

“I am encouraged by the agreement we have reached on a framework that provides a path forward to enact an omnibus next week. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are working around the clock to negotiate the details of spending bills that will be supported by the House and Senate,” DeLauro added.

Nine Republicans voted with Democrats in favor of the measure. They were Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Chris Jacobs (R-N.Y.), Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.).

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Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during a press conference on the introduction of legislation to help Americans with the nationwide baby formula shortage at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, on May 17, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

GOP, Democrats Spar Over Spending

The bill will keep the government funded at current levels until Dec. 23 and give lawmakers an extra week to sort through the details of a long-term broader spending package, expected to be around $1.65 trillion, that will fund the federal government through its fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2023.

Once those details are worked through by lawmakers, the final bill will also need to be voted on by Senate lawmakers before going to Biden to be signed into law.

GOP lawmakers, including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), voted overwhelmingly to oppose the short-term extension over concerns that it was an attempt by Democrats to “buy additional time for a massive lame-duck spending bill in which House Republicans have had no seat at the negotiating table,” The Hill reported.

Republicans have been pushing for a short-term funding bill that will keep the government open until the New Year, when the incoming Republican majority will take control of the House, giving them more say in how the government should be funded for the fiscal year 2023.

GOP lawmakers want to rein-in what they deem Democrats’ out-of-control spending.

Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) said in a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s vote that House Republicans will “work toward a spending agreement that cuts wasteful spending, reduces inflation, and prioritizes border security and national defense.”

Democrats have argued that delaying negotiations until January will have significant financial impacts and could lead to a government shutdown.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) told reporters on Dec. 6 that the two sides were roughly $25 billion apart on overall spending.

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President Joe Biden signs into law the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on May 9, 2022. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

Lawmakers Agree on ‘Framework’

In November Biden called on lawmakers to provide $37.7 billion in additional funds for Ukraine amid its war with Russia. If approved by Congress, the total military and other assistance for Russia’s neighbor would amount to about $105 billion since the start of the conflict.

The president also asked for $10 billion to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases.

Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), the ranking Republican member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said during a news conference on Dec. 14 that “every American has lost two months of their salary over the last two years because of the Democrats’ reckless spending. But we also have a fiscal crisis within our own government.”

House and Senate negotiators said on Tuesday that they had managed to reach an agreement on a “framework” regarding the spending bill that will keep the government funded through September 2023.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.) said the agreement to avoid a partial shutdown was “welcome and important news.”

“Congress now has a roadmap for funding the government before the conclusion of the 117th Congress,” Schumer said from the Senate floor Wednesday morning. “We still have a long way to go, but the framework is a big step in the right direction.”

Details of the “framework” and the costs involved were not immediately clear.

Katabella Roberts

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Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.



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