House Republicans, after a week of struggling, found a bipartisan path to keeping the government open past tonight: jettisoning aid to Ukraine in a move critics say will embolden Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The House voted 335 to 91 for a temporary funding bill to keep the government open until Nov. 17 and also fund disaster assistance. Two hundred and nine Democrats joined all 126 Republicans in voting for the package.
It now heads over to the Senate, where a bipartisan plan to keep the government open was stalled by Republicans who wanted to see what the House sent over.
Lawmakers were racing against the clock, as current funding for the government expires Saturday night. However, a shutdown’s effects would probably not be be felt until early next week.
Democrats initially balked at the bill, saying they had not been given enough time to read its 71 pages. But faced with the political reality that they could be blamed for a shutdown by insisting on aid to Ukraine, many decided to embrace the bill.
But Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee read a letter from Mike McCord, the Pentagon’s under secretary for defense, who warned, “Delays to additional funding would also be perceived by Ukraine as a sign of wavering U.S. support and likely as a betrayal of our previous commitments. Allies and partners are also unlikely to sustain their increased level of support without clear, continuing U.S. leadership.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said there is enough Ukraine aid still in the pipeline for another 45 days. Aid could be attached to another bill later on, but would probably have to be more than the $6 billion that was at issue here and it’s unclear what bill it would have to be attached to in order to pass.