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Uncertainty Looms as Senate Introduces Stopgap Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

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With the deadline for a government shutdown looming, the Senate has introduced a bipartisan stopgap bill in an attempt to avert a shutdown. However, there is uncertainty about whether the bill will pass in the House of Representatives. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is unlikely to bring the bill forward for a vote as it lacks the necessary support to pass and some representatives have threatened to call for his removal if he does so. The House has not presented its own stopgap bill.

The Senate's proposal includes extending funding through November 17 and providing around $6 billion each for Ukraine and disaster relief. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer emphasized the bipartisan effort behind the bill, stating that Democrats and Republicans worked in good faith to reach an agreement.[0] However, McCarthy is hesitant to bring the bill to a vote in the House as it would require Democratic support to pass. Members on the far right, including those in the conservative House Freedom Caucus, have expressed concerns about relying on Democrats for the stopgap bill and have threatened to remove McCarthy from his position as Speaker.[1]

The possibility of a government shutdown has created tension and uncertainty in Congress.[1] The Senate's move to advance the stopgap bill was met with conflicting opinions and doubts about whether the House could act quickly enough to avoid a shutdown. The bill also includes a temporary extension of the Federal Aviation Administration's authority.[2] While the Senate's bill aims to keep the government funded at present levels and address Ukraine's security and humanitarian needs, it remains to be seen if it will gain enough support to pass.[3]

The disagreement and lack of progress in Congress have raised concerns about the potential consequences of a government shutdown. The US government is barreling towards a shutdown as the deadline approaches without a firm funding deal in sight.[4] The process of approving a new government spending bill has been hindered by the further-right members of the House GOP who have refused to support bills that continue to provide funding for Ukraine and the investigation into Donald Trump.[5]

As the clock ticks towards the deadline, Senate negotiators are working towards a short-term spending agreement to avert a government shutdown.[6] However, there are challenges in gaining enough support from both parties. Some House Republicans have threatened to vote against a short-term funding bill unless their demands, such as not giving aid to Ukraine and addressing the “weaponization” of the Justice Department and FBI, are met.[7] The division within the Republican party further complicates the situation and puts pressure on McCarthy to find a solution.

The Senate's stopgap bill allocates funding for Ukraine and disaster relief, but it falls short of the White House's request for Ukraine funding. If the bill becomes law, further funding for Ukraine may be pursued later in the year.[1] The Senate's bill also includes emergency funding for the Department of Defense and extends the Federal Aviation Administration's programs and authority.

Overall, the fate of the stopgap bill remains uncertain as it faces challenges and opposition in the House. The possibility of a government shutdown still looms, and the outcome will depend on the ability of Congress to find a compromise and pass a funding bill before the deadline.

0. “Congress days away from a government shutdown with few solutions to avert it” NPR, 26 Sep. 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/09/26/1201557143/government-shutdown-house-republicans

1. “Senate moves forward on short-term deal to avert government shutdown” The Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/09/26/senate-announces-short-term-deal-avert-government-shutdown-future-house-unclear/

2. “Senate votes to advance short-term funding bill to avoid government shutdown” The Hill, 26 Sep. 2023, https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/4224493-senate-votes-to-advance-short-term-funding-bill-to-avoid-government-shutdown

3. “Senate crafts stopgap bill, setting up showdown with House” The Mercury News, 27 Sep. 2023, https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/09/26/senate-crafts-stopgap-bill-setting-up-showdown-with-house

4. “Senate Negotiators Announce Bipartisan Bid to Avert Shutdown” Bloomberg, 27 Sep. 2023, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-09-26/senate-negotiators-announce-bipartisan-bid-to-avert-shutdown

5. “MAGA Republicans Rip Apart Senate Spending Bill: ‘Disgraceful'” Newsweek, 26 Sep. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/maga-republicans-rip-apart-senate-1830088

6. “McCarthy Under Pressure As Clock Ticks To Avert Shutdown: Treasury Yields Mirror Market Jitters – iShares” Benzinga, 26 Sep. 2023, https://www.benzinga.com/government/23/09/34924068/mccarthy-under-pressure-as-clock-ticks-to-avert-shutdown-treasury-yields-mirror-market-jitters

7. “Government Shutdown Nears: Senate Puts Forth Stopgap Spending Plan That Includes Ukraine Aid And Disaster Relief” Forbes, 26 Sep. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/mollybohannon/2023/09/26/government-shutdown-nears-senate-puts-forth-stopgap-spending-plan-that-includes-ukraine-aid-and-disaster-relief/

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