Sunday, October 01, 2023

A Key Dem Provision Was Left Out of the Spending Bill That Prevented a Government Shutdown

By Matt Vespa |

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

It’s official: the government shutdown has been averted. The House spending bill passed overwhelmingly this afternoon sailed through the Senate, though not before some palace intrigue by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). The Colorado Democrat was incensed that no Ukraine aid was included in the package, which led him to place a hold on the legislation for hours.

Democrats were at risk of being the party who shut down Congress, which is why many in the upper chamber, while annoyed, were confident that the last-minute details would be hashed out and the bill would be passed. Bennet finally surrendered after securing guarantees that a separate aid package would be brought up later  (via Axios):

Congress started the weekend on track to be unable to extend federal funding come midnight on Saturday, but lawmakers now have until mid-November to reach agreement on annual spending bills.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 88-9 to pass the bill, with nine Senate Republicans voting against it. 

Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) and J.D Vance (R-Ohio) voted against the measure.

The bill passed the House 335-91 earlier on Saturday, with 90 Republicans and one Democrat voting against it. 


The intrigue: Several Senate Democrats were furious that the measure didn't include aid to Ukraine, with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) delaying a vote on the measure by several hours to secure a commitment on a vote on a supplemental Ukraine aid package. 

Senate Republicans blocked a vote on a bipartisan Senate bill with $6 billion in Ukraine aid earlier in the day to clear the way for the House bill. 

"Most Senate Republicans remain committed to helping our friends on the frontlines," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a floor speech just before the vote on the House bill. 

The government is now open until November, when we must do this again.