Down to the wire yet again, the country’s top Democrats and Republicans have stopped bickering long enough to avoid another government shutdown. House Democratic Leader and Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries called it a “victory” over “extreme right-wing policies” at a convening this weekend.
“The American people have won. The extreme MAGA Republicans have lost. It was a victory for the American people and a complete and total surrender by right-wing extremists who throughout the year have tried to hijack the Congress,” said Jeffries.
Congress and the U.S. Senate have to pass 12 annual appropriation bills to fund and run the government. When the bills aren’t passed, shutdowns essentially close businesses, stop Medicare and SNAP benefits, and furlough federal employees, among other more chaotic actions. This past weekend, they passed a short–term government funding bill to keep the federal government open for the next 45 days (until November 17) at mere hours before a critical deadline.
The bill includes natural disaster aid but not additional funding for Ukraine or border security, two issues that had caused weeks of major infighting among House Republicans, reported CNN. Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was described as “defiant” to Republican hardliners for working with Dems to keep things running, according to CNN.
During the commotion on Saturday, Congressmember Jamaal Bowman is rumored to have pulled a fire alarm to delay a vote. Bowman is currently under investigation, although he maintains that it was simply an accident.
Jeffries said “extreme MAGA Republicans” broke their agreement with President Biden and tried to put forth a bill with cuts to essential programs. “We went from devastating cuts that would have impacted the health, the safety, and the economic well-being of the American people in 24 hours to a spending agreement that meets the needs of the American people across the board,” said Jeffries. “[It is] entirely consistent with what Democrats have said from the very beginning is the only path forward: a bipartisan spending agreement that keeps the government open, avoids a catastrophic government shutdown, and meets the needs of the American people in every possible way.”
He promised to prioritize the needs of the American people and put people over politics.
Congressmember Kweisi Mfume said in a statement that he was proud to vote in favor of the short-term government funding bill.
“The legislation we passed out of the U.S. House today gives Congress 45 days to further beat back these dangerous attempts by the extreme members of the Republican Party to cause our nation to implode,” said Mfume. “This is not a permanent nor perfect solution, but it was a necessary step to protect the innocent American lives that would have been adversely affected without the critical services of the federal government.”
Biden has signed the bill into law.
On Monday, October 2, Congressmember Matt Gaetz of Florida moved to oust McCarthy because of his cooperation with the Democrats. His challenge forced a vote to remove McCarthy.
Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about politics for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting https://bit.ly/amnews1.