House Democrats kicked the can of government funding down the road another 2 1/2 months on Thursday, passing a stopgap spending resolution with one day to spare before a partial shutdown.
The 221-212 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and 14 other GOPers helped pass the current funding resolution at the end of September — and McConnell signaled Thursday he would help keep the federal lights on again.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) was the sole GOP member to vote for its passage.
“This bill,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said during the debate on the floor of the chamber,” is a demonstration of the failure of 535 adults, elected by their fellow citizens, to act responsibly … This is a failure.”
But Texas Republican Chip Roy countered, “There is a lot of noise. It’s about whether or not members of this body will continue to use money we don’t have to fund mandates and use of force against its citizens.”
Roy said of the funding, “$73.5 billion is subsidized with critical race theory, $10 billion for an FBI that was used by the attorney general of the United States to target parents. $50 billion for Department of Homeland Security that leaves our borders wide open and $6 billion for Fauci — Dr. Fauci.”
The measure approved by the House Thursday funds the government through Feb. 18 and provides an additional $7 billion for agencies assisting evacuees from Afghanistan.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) unveiled the legislation Thursday morning, saying it would give negotiators more time to hammer out an omnibus spending bill early next year.
“Working families, small businesses, veterans and our military need the certainty that comes with passing omnibus funding legislation instead of short-term funding patches,” DeLauro said on the House floor. “Republicans must join us for bipartisan, bicameral negotiations to resolve our differences and keep government working for us all.”
House GOP leadership encouraged members to vote against the measure, arguing in an email that it “fails to address the multiple crises our country is currently facing and is being rushed through at the last minute due to the Democrats’ inability to govern.”
Republican leaders also objected to the provision funding Afghan refugee assistance, saying the bill didn’t “address concerns … related to insufficient documentation during the verification process for Afghan refugees.”
The conservative House Freedom Caucus urged Republicans in both chambers Wednesday to vote against the stopgap bill unless language was included to block funding for the implementation of vaccine mandates.
However, McConnell showed no interest in taking up that fight Thursday.
“I don’t think shutting down the government over this issue is going to get an outcome,” he told Fox News. “It’ll only create chaos and uncertainty.”
The minority leader later insisted: “We’re not going to shut the government down. That makes no sense for anyone. Almost no one on either side thinks that’s a good idea.”
Another Republican senator, John Kennedy of Louisiana, was less optimistic, telling Fox he thought there was “at least a 50 percent chance and probably higher” of a shutdown.
“When I last talked to the proponents of the shutdown, within the last two hours, they were hell-bent for leather,” he told “America Reports” co-host John Roberts. “Maybe Mitch knows something I don’t know, but I think it won’t be a long shutdown, and we shouldn’t shut it down at all, but it could be a few days.”
A handful of Senate Republicans led by Roger Marshall of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah are pushing for the addition of an amendment defunding vaccine mandates, stating that they would vote for the stopgap bill if the amendment is allowed to pass with 51 votes instead of the usual 60.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) did not rule out voting for the amendment Thursday, telling reporters: “I’ve been very supportive of a mandate for federal government, for military. I’ve been less enthused about it in the private sector.”
Democrats have railed against the prospect of a government shutdown, arguing that Republicans would bear full responsibility if it happens.
“Government shutdowns are not minor inconveniences — they delay paychecks and obstruct essential government services,” tweeted Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) “This isn’t the time to play politics.”
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who helped play a role in negotiating the continuing resolution, told reporters: “We know ultimately we’re going to fund the government,” but it remained unclear whether the measure would pass by the deadline of 11:59 p.m. Friday.
Senate leadership will need at least 10 Republicans to vote for the funding measure in the upper chamber for the bill to pass.