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The US House of Representatives has voted to avert a costly government shutdown. This is a significant victory for the new speaker, who would maintain funding for the federal government through early next year while leaving billions of dollars in funding for Israel and Ukraine in limbo.
The House of Representatives voted 336-95 on Tuesday evening in favor of Republican Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan to keep government spending at current levels through 2024.
Of the bill’s opponents, 93 were Republicans and two Democrats, while 209 Democrats and 127 Republicans voted in favor.
The bill is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate before being sent to President Joe Biden for his signature ahead of the looming deadline on Friday.
This does not include the billions of dollars in additional aid for Israel and Ukraine that the White House has requested. Johnson said he would consider a “supplementary” funding bill in the coming weeks to cover additional foreign aid to Israel, as well as money for Taiwan and increasing security at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Earlier Tuesday, Johnson stressed that he would “not capitulate” by relying on Democratic votes to avert a shutdown.
“It is a matter of conscience for all of us to move beyond the shutdown and ensure that the government continues to function. We owe it to the American people,” he told reporters. “When you have a small majority, it requires that some things have to be bipartisan.”
Democratic support was crucial for Johnson after the House Freedom Caucus, an ultra-conservative group of Republicans, made clear it opposed his plan.
The Freedom Caucus issued a statement earlier Tuesday saying it opposed the short-term funding deal because it “includes no spending cuts, no border security and not a single meaningful victory for the American people.”
House Democrats declined to support it, saying they supported the plan to avoid a shutdown that would have furloughed millions of federal workers.
“Once again, the Republican majority needs Democratic votes to govern,” said Rosa DeLauro, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee. “The value of this agreement will be demonstrated in the future.”
Johnson’s two-stage proposal includes staggered deadlines for funding different parts of the federal government: January 19 and February 2.
Unlike his predecessor Kevin McCarthy, Johnson is not expected to pay a political price for reaching a deal to avoid a shutdown.
McCarthy was ousted as speaker six weeks ago in a revolt led by eight members of his own party. They objected to a short-term funding deal he negotiated to keep the government’s funding at current levels.
Still, Republicans appear uninterested in punishing Johnson, a relative newcomer to House leadership.
Johnson, a conservative Christian lawmaker from Louisiana, was elected speaker three weeks ago after House Republicans failed to unite around three previous candidates: Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan and Tom Emmer.
McCarthy, meanwhile, was the subject of controversy on Capitol Hill on Tuesday after Tim Burchett, a Republican congressman from Tennessee, accused the former speaker of elbowing him in the “kidneys” in the halls of Congress.
Burchett was one of eight Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy as speaker last month. McCarthy denied hitting Burchett.