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Democrats help Johnson pass short-term funding bill to avert government shutdown

Written by on February 29, 2024

(WASHINGTON) — Democrats helped Speaker Mike Johnson to pass a short-term funding bill in the House to avert a government shutdown before a Friday deadline — but it only kicks the can down the road for a week.

The House voted 320-99 in bipartisan fashion to approve the short-term continuing resolution, pushing the funding deadlines back slightly to March 8 and March 22.

The measure, brought up under “suspension of the rules,” required a two-third majority vote to pass — which meant Johnson needed Democrats’ votes to pass it. Similar actions by Johnson’s predecessor, Kevin McCarthy put him in hot water and contributed to his ouster last year.

On Thursday, only two Democrats opposed the vote, joining 97 Republicans who voted against it.

The vote marks the fourth time House GOP leaders have put a continuing resolution on the floor since September.

The bill now heads to the Senate. It’s unclear how soon the upper chamber will take up the bill, though it’s expected to pass before Friday night’s funding deadline.

It could face procedural hurdles in the Senate if one member objects to expediting the voting process, potentially pushing a vote past the shutdown deadline.

On Wednesday, House and Senate leaders reached a bipartisan deal to avert the partial government shutdown of roughly 20% of the government, and create new funding deadlines: March 8 for that 20% and March 22 for the remaining 80%.

Johnson hoped that an additional week could give Congress more time to pass all remaining appropriations bills to fully fund the government through the end of FY2024. It comes after Johnson previously promised there would be no more short-term funding bills.

GOP Whip Tom Emmer announced that House votes are canceled for Friday — meaning members will leave town after the funding bill vote.

The House will be back in session next Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Senate may vote as soon as Thursday night on a short-term government funding bill once it clears the House.

“Once the House acts, I hope the Senate can pass the short-term CR as soon as tonight but that will require all of us working together. There’s certainly no reason this should take a very long time. So, let’s cooperate and get it done quickly,” Schumer said on the floor Thursday.

Schumer said collaboration helped lawmakers reach a deal.

“As I said directly to the speaker over and over and over again, the only way to get things done here is with bipartisanship. And this agreement is another proof point,” he said. “This agreement is proof that when the four leaders work together, when bipartisanship is prioritized, when getting things done for the American people takes a high priority, good things can happen even in divided government. And I hope this sets the stage for Congress to finish the appropriations process in a bipartisan way, very soon.”

ABC News’ Sarah Beth Hensley and Jay O’Brien contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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