U.S. Representatives Becca Balint and Pramila Jayapal embrace.

U.S. Representatives Becca Balint (L), Democrat of Vermont, and Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, hug before going into the House chamber to vote at U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on September 30, 2023.

(Photo; Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

'We Held the Line and Won': House Approves Stopgap Spending Bill With No Budget Cuts

Speaker Kevin McCarthy had previously said that bringing a clean spending bill to the floor would count as surrender.

The House of Representatives voted 335 to 91 to keep the government open Saturday afternoon, as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy put forward a bill to fund the government for 45 days without the steep cuts to services or harder border measures demanded by far-right Republicans.

McCarthy had previously said that bringing a clean spending bill to the floor would count as surrender, Politico pointed out. The outlet's Congress reporter Olivia Beavers noted on social media that McCarthy received more votes from Democrats than from his own party, at 209 and 126 respectively.

"It’s been interesting watching the MAGA Republicans surrender," Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted. "All their must-have poison policies have been removed from the House bill we just passed. We held the line and won for the American people."

On Friday, 21 House Republicans rejected a spending measure that would have cut the budgets of several agencies by almost 30% and included harsher border control measures, The Associated Press reported.While Democrats rejected the measure for being too extreme, the 21 Republicans argued it didn't go far enough.

That refusal prompted McCarthy to change tactics Saturday, despite the fact that his speakership will likely be challenged by the right.

"If somebody wants to remove me because I want to be the adult in the room, go ahead and try," McCarthy said, as AP reported. "But I think this country is too important."

"Democrats held the line against Republicans' cruel, extreme, and unworkable agenda and the Republican resolve crumbled."

The House bill funds the federal government at 2023 levels through November 17 and includes the additional $16 billion in disaster funding requested by President Joe Biden. It does exclude funding for Ukraine, which was a part of the Senate's temporary spending measure. However, Washington Post White House economics reporter Jeff Stein tweeted that it was a "truly striking L for House conservatives demanding massive domestic spending cuts."

"A few days ago, far-right of GOP was insisting ~10% cuts to domestic programs were insufficient," he said. "Now, looks like they're going to get 0% cuts instead."

In an earlier tweet, Stein pointed out that since the stopgap measure relies on spending levels from Fiscal Year 2023, it avoids cuts to WIC, childcare, scientific research, housing support, and other domestic programs.

Progressive lawmakers counted the vote as a win.

"House Democrats have engineered a huge victory for the American people in averting a Republican shutdown," Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said in a statement. "This is a moment of relief for thousands of federal employees and working-class federal contract workers who will not miss a paycheck and the millions of Americans who rely on government services that will continue uninterrupted."

"The reason that the government will remain open tonight is simple," she continued. "Democrats held the line against Republicans' cruel, extreme, and unworkable agenda and the Republican resolve crumbled."

"Here’s what went down: We just won a clean 45 day gov extension, stripped GOP’s earlier 30% cuts to Social Security admin etc., staved off last minute anti-immigrant hijinks, and averted shutdown (for now)," Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted. "People will get paychecks and MTG threw a tantrum on the way out. Win-win."

"For months, Speaker McCarthy has been a puppet of the extreme far-right. Democrats held the line on no cuts to the programs that our people depend on and we won," posted Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-Fla.). "Big fight ahead on the budget, but this is a win. McCarthy folded and we kept the government open."

To avoid a shutdown, a bill must be ready for Biden to sign by 12:01 am Sunday. The Senate is likely to vote on the House meassure this evening, The New York Times reported.

Even if the Senate passes the measure, Jayapal said there would be more work to do and 45 days to pass a permanent funding resolution.

"Republicans are still trying to gut food, housing, and home-heating assistance for low-income families; take teachers out of classrooms; criminalize abortion; cut social security funding; and create a death panel for the earned benefits seniors rely on," she said.

"Republicans have managed to fulfill the absolute bare minimum of their obligations as the governing majority, but Democrats will need to remain vigilant," she added.

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