Washington, October 1
The US Congress passed a stopgap funding Bill late on Saturday with overwhelming Democratic support after Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy backed down from an earlier demand by his party's hardliners for a partisan Bill.
The Democratic-majority Senate voted 88-9 to pass the measure to avoid the federal government's fourth partial shutdown in a decade, sending the Bill to President Joe Biden, who signed it into law before the midnight deadline.
The Bill drops aid to Ukraine, a White House priority opposed by a growing number of GOP lawmakers, but increases federal disaster assistance by USD 16 billion, meeting Biden's full request.
The exclusion of Ukraine funding came little more than a week after lawmakers met in the Capitol with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who sought to assure lawmakers that his military was winning the war, but stressed that additional aid would be crucial for continuing the fight.
McCarthy abandoned party hardliners' insistence that any Bill pass the House with only Republican votes.
The House voted 335-91 to fund the government through November 17, with more Democrats than Republicans supporting it.
The move marked a profound shift from earlier in the week, when a shutdown looked all but inevitable. A shutdown would mean that most of the government's 4 million employees would not get paid — whether they were working or not — and also would shutter a range of federal services, from National Parks to financial regulators.
Federal agencies had already drawn up detailed plans that spell out what services would continue, such as airport screening and border patrols, and what must shut down, including scientific research and nutrition aid to seven million poor mothers.
Republican Matt Gaetz said on Sunday he would try to remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a fellow Republican, from his leadership position this week after McCarthy relied on Democratic support to pass legislation that avoided a government shutdown. — Agencies
WHAT IS A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
A shutdown takes place when the Congress fails to pass funding legislations that are signed into law by the President
Lawmakers are supposed to pass 12 different spending Bills to fund agencies across the government
They often resort to passing a temporary extension, called a continuing resolution, to allow the government to keep operating
When no funding legislation is enacted, federal agencies have to stop all non-essential work and will not send paychecks as long as the shutdown lasts
Although employees deemed essential, such as air traffic controllers and law enforcement officers, still have to report to work, other federal employees are furloughed
WHO DOES IT AFFECT?
- Millions of federal workers face delayed paychecks when the government shuts down, including many of the roughly 2 million military personnel and more than 2 million civilian workers across the nation
- Some federal offices will also have to close or face shortened hours during a shutdown
- People applying for government services like clinical trials, firearm permits and passports could see delays
- The travel sector could lose $140 million daily due to the shutdown, according to the US Travel Industry Association
Longest halt lasted 35 days
- The longest government shutdown happened between 2018 and 2019 when then-President Trump and congressional Democrats entered a standoff over his demand for funding for a border wall
- The disruption lasted 35 days, through the holiday season, but was also only a partial government shutdown because Congress had passed some appropriation Bills to fund parts of the government
HOUSE SENATE MUST BE ON SAME PAGE
It’s the responsibility of the Congress to fund the government. The House and Senate have to agree to fund the government in some way, and the President has to sign the legislation into law
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