WASHINGTON — The Senate could vote as early as tonight on the Republican bill to avoid a government shutdown, following approval Tuesday in the Low camera.
The Senate, where Democrats hold a slim majority, has indicated its willingness to accept Johnson’s package before Friday’s deadline to fund the government.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called the House package “a solution” and said he anticipated its passage in Congress with bipartisan support.
“It’s good to see us working together to avoid a government shutdown,” he said.
McConnell, a Republican, has noted, however, that Congress still has work to do on President Joe Biden’s call to provide U.S. military aid for Ukraine and Israel and for other needs.
The US House of Representatives approved a resolution on Tuesday to avoid a government shutdown, after its new speaker, Republican Mike Johnson, was forced to reach out to Democrats when the most recalcitrant conservatives rebelled against his plan.
The bipartisan 336-95 vote revealed Johnson’s willingness to leave far-right Republicans behind and work with Democrats to keep the government open temporarily, the same political maneuver that cost Kevin McCarthy the House speakership. just a few weeks ago.
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This time, Johnson seemed headed for a better outcome after the House of Representatives approved the interim package to keep the government open until next year.
Now the Senate must act before the Friday deadline.
“Making sure the government continues to function is a matter of conscience for all of us. We owe it to the American people,” Johnson said Tuesday at a news conference at the Capitol.
But the new Republican leader faced the same political problem that led to McCarthy’s ouster: angry and frustrated recalcitrant GOP lawmakers who rejected his approach, demanded budget cuts and were determined to vote against the plan.
Without sufficient support from his Republican majority, Johnson had no choice but to rely on Democrats to ensure passage and keep the federal government running.
Shortly before Tuesday’s vote, House Democratic leaders issued a joint statement saying the package met all their requirements and that they would support it.
Johnson’s proposal proposes a unique process – although some call it strange – in two parts that temporarily funds some federal agencies until January 19 and others until February 2.
Johnson says this innovative approach would allow Republican representatives to “enter the fight” for bigger spending cuts in the new year, but many Republicans are skeptical that there will be better results in January.
The Freedom caucus announced its opposition, which guaranteed dozens of votes against the plan.
Johnson was left with no options but to skip what is typically a party-only procedural vote and resort to another process that requires the support of two-thirds of Democrats for approval.