“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 said Saturday afternoon after an emergency meeting with Republicans where he announced his plan.
This 11th hour proposal came as a surprise because, until then, McCarthy had been unwilling to negotiate with Democrats. Instead, he had backed government funding proposal he hoped to pass with Republicans’ support alone. A group of 21 hardliners, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, blocked one such proposal on Friday, and McCarthy ran out of options.
Immediately after the speaker announced his new approach on Saturday, the House opened the floor for debate. U.S. Rep. Austin Scott was among the Republicans who lined up to back the plan, known as a continuing resolution.
”We need to vote for this continuing resolution; we need to keep the United States government funded,” said Scott, a Tifton Republican. “We need to keep the (Department of Defense) funded and our soldiers funded.”Democrats, meanwhile, were holding an emergency caucus meeting to discuss the plan.
But there were dozens conservatives who did not support the measure. Collins, R-Jackson, posted a critique on social media about what the speaker had put on the table.
“Did you want a conservative, budget cutting CR (continuing resolution) with border security OR a clean CR?” the Jackson Republican wrote. “Too bad. You’re getting the crap option.”
Democrats used stalling tactics to give their members time to review the legislation, including a lengthy floor speech from Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. One lawmaker, Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York, was accused of pulling a fire alarm in a House office building to delay the vote.
But in the end, the bill had more support among Democrats than Republicans.
“MAGA Republicans have surrendered,” Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries wrote on social media after the vote. “All extreme right-wing policies have been removed from the House spending bill. The American people have won.”
Georgia Rep. Nikema Williams released a statement saying Democrats were forced to step in after GOP infighting threatened to shutter federal agencies and jeopardize safety net programs.
“Passing legislation to keep the government open is one of the most fundamental jobs of Congress,” she said. “That’s why I voted yes: to keep the federal government open for the American people and prevent food from being taken out of the mouths of women and children.”
Republicans hold a thin majority in the House, meaning opposition from just a handful of members can tank GOP-led measures. And that is what happened earlier in the week with hard-right members pushing McCarthy for steeper funding cuts only to still oppose stopgap funding over broader disagreements about the appropriations process.
McCarthy needed cooperation from Democrats to expedite his proposal, which required a 2/3 majority for quick passage. Some Democrats said they were disappointed the House bill did not contain the Ukraine aid but supported it anyway to avert a shutdown.
By putting a proposal on the table that Democrats would back, McCarthy provided a path for avoiding a shutdown but at the same time risked drawing new anger from hardliners who may now launch an effort to remove him from leadership.
In a deal struck with conservatives who initially opposed his speakership bid, McCarthy agreed to a change in House rules that allows any single member to call for a vote on his ouster.
The Senate has a different stopgap measure on the table that like the latest House proposal keeps the government funded temporarily at current levels, but the Senate plan would also provide new aid to Ukraine. Senate Republicans indicated Saturday that they are ready to move forward with quick passage of the House proposal with a shutdown just hours away.
Go to our ePaper this morning and ajc.com for the latest developments on the effort to avoid a government shutdown.
HOW THEY VOTED
On H.R. 5860, legislation to temporarily fund government and avoid shutdown
U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Augusta
U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany
U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-The Rock
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia
U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton
U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta
U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta
U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Athens
U.S. Rep. Mike Collins, R-Jackson
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome
U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville
U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick, R-Suwanee
U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler
This article has been updated to correctly state that Rep. Buddy Carter did not cast a vote on the temporary government funding bill.