U.S. Senate passes short-term spending bill amid uncertainty of House approval

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

27th September 2023 – (Washington) In a bid to avert a government shutdown before the looming deadline on Saturday midnight, the U.S. Senate has successfully passed a short-term spending bill. However, there is no guarantee that the bill will receive approval in the House of Representatives.

In a rare display of bipartisan cooperation, the bill received substantial support from the Democrat-led Senate, with a vote of 77-19.

The approved bill includes $6.1 billion in aid for Ukraine and approximately $6 billion for domestic disaster relief. It is designed to maintain government funding at current levels until 17th November, contrary to the Republican Party’s insistence on spending cuts.

This Senate vote sets the stage for the passage of a continuing resolution later in the week. If approved, it will be sent to the House of Representatives and potentially avert a federal government shutdown by 1st October.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took to social media, referring to the bill as “a bridge away from extremism and towards cooperation.” He expressed the intention to provide negotiators with more time to reach an agreement on a longer-term funding bill.

This development follows Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s failure to secure sufficient support for a short-term spending bill among House Republicans.

Previously, McCarthy proposed a stopgap bill that aimed to reduce budgets for most federal agencies by approximately 8% and impose stricter immigration restrictions. However, the House found itself deadlocked when hardline Republicans opposed any further aid to Ukraine.

While McCarthy has consistently emphasized that a government shutdown would be highly undesirable, his ability to mediate a compromise within the House remains uncertain.

On Tuesday, McCarthy stated that funding for Ukraine should not be included in a short-term spending package, advocating for a separate standalone bill instead. He also called for a meeting with President Joe Biden.

Reports from U.S. media outlets suggest that McCarthy informed his leadership team on Tuesday night of his plans to amend the Senate’s stopgap spending bill. The proposed amendment would incorporate a House GOP border security package into the bill.