The U.S. Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown Saturday, just hours before a midnight deadline. In an unexpected reversal, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed to a plan with Democrats and a majority of Republicans to keep the government running until November 17. The bill does not include aid for Ukraine, but it does earmark $16 billion for disaster relief funds. The measure quickly passed through the Senate and was signed by President Biden late Saturday. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries claimed victory for “the American people” after the bill’s passage, saying it followed a “complete and total surrender by right-wing extremists.” Biden castigated Republicans for once again manufacturing a crisis over funding the government.
President Joe Biden: “The brinkmanship has to end, and there should be another — there shouldn’t be another crisis. There’s no excuse for another crisis. Consequently, I strongly urge my Republican friends in Congress not to wait. Don’t waste time as you did all summer. Pass a yearlong budget agreement. Honor the deal we made a few months ago.”
Florida right-wing Congressmember Matt Gaetz said Sunday he would move to oust McCarthy as House speaker following passage of the Democrat-backed bill. Far-right Republicans had demanded steep spending cuts and funds to further militarize the southern border.
Meanwhile, New York progressive Congressmember Jamaal Bowman has apologized after he pulled a fire alarm as House Democrats considered McCarthy’s bill before a rushed vote on the stopgap measure. Bowman said he thought pulling the alarm would open a door and that he was not trying to delay the vote. House Republicans and the Capitol Police have launched investigations into the incident.