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Fox News
Fox News
30 Sep 2023


The House of Representatives voted Saturday to pass a short-term spending bill, moving to avoid a government shutdown if the Senate adopts the measure.

The bill now heads to the Senate. If it's expedited there, Congress could just narrowly avoid seeing thousands of federal employees furloughed and nonessential government programs paused.

House lawmakers on both sides of the aisle broke out into applause in a rare moment of bipartisanship after the short-term bill known as a continuing resolution (CR), passed 335 to 91.

The funding patch will last for 45 days past the end of the fiscal year, which concludes at midnight Sunday, Oct. 1. The bill also includes $16 billion for U.S. disaster relief aid that President Biden requested over the summer, Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said on Saturday. 

It comes after House Republicans tried and failed to pass a stopgap funding bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), filled with conservative policy items like border security and spending cuts.

THE SPEAKER’S LOBBY: THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO A POSSIBLE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks to reporters just after the Republican majority in the House narrowly passed a sweeping debt ceiling package as they try to push President Joe Biden into negotiations on federal spending, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, April 26, 2023.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

"We need more time to get the job done," McCarthy told reporters ahead of the vote. McCarthy said he did not want to "punish" military service members or border agents for the House's failure to pass a budget that ends wasteful spending and addresses border security.

"The House is going to act so government will not shut down. We will put a clean funding stopgap on the floor to keep government open for 45 days for the House and Senate to get their work done," McCarthy also said. "We will also, knowing what had transpired through the summer, the disasters in Florida, the horrendous fire in Hawaii, and also disasters in California and Vermont, we will put the supplemental portion that the president asked for in disaster there too."

Republicans' previous CR proposals did not get any Democratic support, and failed after enough GOP hardliners opposed them. Holdouts argued that a CR on principle is an extension of the previous Democratically-held Congress' priorities, and is the antithesis of the House GOP majority's promise to pass 12 individual spending bills laying out conservative priorities in the next fiscal year.

The Democratic leaders

Top Democrats huddled for an emergency meeting after the CR was proposed (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

But the majority of lawmakers on both sides have acknowledged that some kind of stopgap is needed to give them more time to cobble those deals together. The current fiscal year ends at midnight tonight, meaning that if no agreement is passed by the House and Senate, thousands of government employees will be furloughed and "nonessential" federal programs will grind to a halt.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN WOULD 'UNDERMINE' BIDEN ADMIN'S ECONOMIC 'PROGRESS': YELLEN

And despite Democrats clamoring for a "clean" CR, it's not immediately clear if they will support the bill being put forward by the GOP now. 

Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., told Fox News Digital that he believes Democrats will vote against the CR to hold out for the Senate's proposal, which also includes funding for Ukraine aid – something a large share of House Republicans oppose.

U.S. President Joe Biden

The GOP proposal includes President Biden's call for disaster relief aid. (Photographer: Jacquelyn Martin/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

"I think this may fail because Democrats in the House want a Senate CR," Barr said. "So what could happen is a pretty low vote number on this…you'll have Democrats who are voting to shut the government down. And that's what you're gonna see. Democrats want to politicize this, and they're gonna vote to shut the government down."

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., would not say where he would fall when speaking to reporters before the vote but complained about Republicans having "dropped this on us in the 11th hour."

House Republicans "lied every single step of the way," Jeffries said.

Elizabeth Elkind is a reporter for Fox News Digital focused on Congress as well as the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and politics. Previous digital bylines seen at Daily Mail and CBS News.

Follow on Twitter at @liz_elkind and send tips to elizabeth.elkind@fox.com