On the brink of a federal government shutdown, the House on Saturday swiftly approved a 45-day funding bill to keep federal agencies open as Speaker Kevin McCarthy dropped demands for steep spending cuts and relied on Democratic votes for passage to send the package to the Senate.
The new approach would leave behind aid to Ukraine, a White House priority opposed by a growing number of GOP lawmakers, but the plan would increase federal disaster assistance by $16 billion, meeting President Joe Biden’s full request. The package was approved 335-91, with most Republicans and almost all Democrats supporting. the bill.
With hours to go before the midnight deadline to fund the government, the Senate was also in for a rare weekend session and prepared to act next.
The House measure would fund government at current 2023 levels for 45 days, through Nov. 17, moving closer to the bipartisan approach in the Senate. But the Senate package would have added $6 billion for Ukraine to fight the war against Russia and $6 billion for U.S. disaster relief.
Both chambers came to a standstill as lawmakers assessed their options, some decrying the loss of Ukraine aid.
“The American people deserve better,” said House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, warning in a lengthy floor speech that “extreme” Republicans were risking shutdown.