Feb 27, 2024  |  
 | Remer,MN
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Alex Miller and Kerry Picket

NextImg:Democrats take floor, stall for time while parsing through McCarthy’s new stopgap bill

House Democrats are scrambling to buy time to figure out their position on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s stopgap bill, using arcane rules to buy as many minutes as they can. 

On Saturday morning, Mr. McCarthy announced the new bill, which would be a 45-day stopgap in funding to keep the government open that includes $16 billion in disaster aid and the current government funding levels. 

Within a half hour, the bill was primed for a floor vote, until House Minority Whip Katherine Clark called for a procedural vote meant to send lawmakers home. In reality, Democrats needed more time to read the bill. 

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries then used an arcane rule called the “magic minute,” which allows a lawmaker to speak on the House floor for as long as they want to. He used that time to explain to Republican lawmakers, many of which left, how Congress had arrived at the precipice of a shutdown. 

The Democratic leader said that his conference did not trust Mr. McCarthy, particularly after his move to launch an impeachment inquiry without a floor vote after promising one for weeks. 

“Is this really a serious effort to end a government shutdown?,” Mr. Jeffries said. 

Mr. McCarthy is gambling on Democrats supporting his latest push to avoid a government shutdown after his own conference shot down the speaker’s hyper-conservative proposal Friday. 

But this latest iteration lacks many of the concessions that Mr. McCarthy made to gain support from the 40-member House Freedom Caucus, like border security and steep spending cuts, meaning that he needs Democrats to rally behind his push. 

Their support is not guaranteed, with a major sticking point for many Democrats being a lack of Ukraine aid in the speaker’s newest offering. 

Freedom Caucus members rebuked the new stopgap bill for many reasons, including the bill skirting a rule that requires at least 72 hours before a new measure hits the floor. 

“We got that in common,” said Gerry Connolly, Virginia Democrat. 

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