A stopgap government funding bill was signed into law by President Biden late Saturday, keeping the government open for another forty-five days, through November 17.
The proposed bill, which passed the House of Representatives earlier Saturday afternoon, does not include the $6 million that the Senate’s own funding measure would have. It will, however, increase federal disaster assistance by $16 million, meeting President Biden’s full request.
The bill passed the House of Representatives 335-91, despite resistance from MAGA Republicans that led to a standoff over spending for weeks. Ninety House Republicans led by Representative Matt Gaetz, voted against the bill.
With just hours to spare before the federal government was set to shut down, the Senate’s vote on a bipartisan funding bill was delayed over concerns about aid for Ukraine.
According to Senators Chuck Grassley and John Thune, Democratic senator Michael Bennet was holding up the vote on the stopgap funding bill which provides no funding for Ukraine. Senate leaders worked on a statement to show their support for Ukraine, hoping to l resolve Bennet’s objection.
“One thing I would worry a lot about is if we come back here in forty-five days, and there is no way to get these right-wing extremists… to support the continued funding for Ukraine, which is the whole world is watching this,” Bennet told MSNBC before the House vote. “Vladimir putting is watching this. All of our allies in Europe and Asia are watching this. Xi Jinping is watching this.”
Following the vote, Gaetz told the Washington Times that McCarthy’s speakership stands on “tenuous ground,” although he has yet to file the motion that would call a vote to oust McCarthy.
“Right now, our plan is to continue to build support for our single-subject spending bills,” Gaetz said, referring to a competing funding bill. “This forty-five-day [stopgap spending bill] does not liberate us from our nation’s financial challenges. We remain $33 trillion in debt. We’re facing $2.2 trillion annual deficits.”
Gaetz and twenty other House Republicans had already voted against McCarthy’s first attempt to keep the government open through a Republican-only bill that would have cut spending to most agencies. On Friday night, Gaetz blamed the speaker for the crisis.
“It is by design that Speaker McCarthy brought us to this moment to put our backs against the wall against shutdown politics,” Gaetz told CNBC.
The House vote was delayed after Representative Jamaal Bowman pulled a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building on Saturday, causing the building to be evacuated about an hour before the spending bill was passed.
The House Administration Committee and the U.S. Capitol Police are currently investigating the matter.
“Today at 12:05 p.m., a fire alarm was activated on the second floor of the Cannon House Office Building,” a USCP spokesperson said in a statement Saturday. “The building was evacuated while USCP officers checked the building. The building was reopened after it was determined that there was not a threat. An investigation into what happened and why continues.”
Bowman later told reporters that he pulled the alarm by accident.
“I was trying to get to a door. I thought the alarm would open the door and I pulled the fire alarm to open the door by accident,” he said. “I was just trying to get to my vote and the door that’s usually open wasn’t open, it was closed.”