Thursday, July 25, 2024

House passes short-term funding measure to keep government open

by BIZ Magazine

e Center Square) – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a short-term funding measure Thursday to temporarily keep the federal government open, just one day before the government was scheduled to partially shut down.

The Continuing Resolution passed the House with a vote 320-99, sending it to the Senate for consideration, where it is expected to pass and then be signed by Biden.

Notably, the funding measure only pushes back the two staggered partial shutdown deadlines to March 8 and March 22 of this year. That means lawmakers still only have days to agree on a larger funding deal to keep the government open.

While the holdout Republicans were not able to stop the short-term funding measure, it could signal hardship ahead in future negotiations. Many Republicans have concerns about the national debt, which is well over $34 trillion and growing, as well as supplemental foreign aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

“We have to be willing to do what’s difficult to save America,” U.S. Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., wrote on X. “I’m not scared of a government shutdown if it’s the price we need to pay to secure our border, get our debt under control, and stop the government from going after my fellow Americans.”

Nearly half of Republicans voted against the funding measure, with U.S. Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., the head of the House Freedom Caucus, vocally opposing it. He is calling for a deal that funds the government for a full year and offsets any supplemental foreign spending provisions, preferably with other cuts.

Thursday’s deal came after Congressional leadership met with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House on Tuesday.

Front and center in the debate over federal funding is the southern border, where both Biden and former President Donald Trump are visiting Thursday. More than 10 million illegal immigrants have entered the U.S. since Biden took office, overwhelming parts of the border and many of the towns and cities where the migrants have resettled.

Biden has called on Republicans to pass more border funding, but they have advocated for stricter measures and say Biden already has the funding and legal authority, just not the political will, to address the border crisis.

Johnson addressed that meeting just before the vote Thursday at a news conference.

“I told [Biden] the obvious truth,” Johnson said. “The obvious truth is that we have to take care of Americans’ needs first. We have to. The border is the issue to every American no matter where they live, no matter where their state is because every state is a border state.”

Another key sticking point in the negotiations is funding for Ukraine. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Biden, among other Democrats, have hammered Republicans on this issue, arguing that Ukraine will be in serious trouble without U.S. tax dollars.

Funding for Israel in its war against Hamas as well as humanitarian aid for the residents of Gaza will also be key negotiating points in the days ahead.

For Johnson and many Republicans, though, the southern border is the key to the discussion.

“We are trying to urge the president to use his executive authority to do something meaningful at the southern border to stop the hemorrhaging, to stop the flow,” Johnson said. “I reiterated to [Biden] the specific provisions of the federal law that give him broad authority to do that, to unwind the extraordinary, unprecedented damages that he has done with his policies. This is a catastrophe of their design.”

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