January 28, 2022

House, Senate approve stopgap measure averting government shutdown

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed – by a vote of 221-212 – a temporary measure to keep the federal government funded through Feb. 18, averting a shutdown that was poised to begin this weekend and resulting in the measure’s ultimately successful advancement to the Senate, according to the Washington Post.

The stopgap bill garnered substantial support from Democrats, but attracted just one Republican vote, that of Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

Ahead of the vote, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) were vocal in their opposition to the continuing resolution, with Banks issuing a statement saying, “The border crisis, the inflation crisis, the supply chain crisis and the government crisis – each of the crises facing our nation today can be traced back to specific policies pursued by Democrats. We can’t give [President Joe] Biden a green light to continue on this destructive path,” as Breitbart noted.

Several GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), suggested that his colleagues tie consideration of the bill to the issue of defunding Biden administration vaccine mandates, and an effort to that effect was initiated in the Senate.

Even before the Senate vote on the funding measure, however, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signaled his belief that a government shutdown would not occur and that he did not agree with linking the continuing resolution to defunding the mandates.

“I don’t think shutting down the government over this issue is going to get an outcome. It would only create chaos and uncertainty, so I don’t think that’s the best vehicle to get this job done,” said McConnell, according to The Hill, adding, “We’re not going to shut the government down.”

The minority leader’s predictions were indeed borne out, with the Senate on Thursday night passing the short-term measure by a vote of 69-28, as the New York Post noted, after the failure of an amendment spearheaded by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) which would have stopped federal money being used for vaccine mandate implementation and enforcement, by its own vote of 48-50.

Though the short-term continuing resolution keeps federal spending at present levels until the middle of February, it does include appropriation of $7 billion in assistance to be used in the relocation and resettlement of Afghan refugees, a scenario that prompted Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) to demand answers on how that money will be spent and precisely who will be entitled to receive aid.

Thursday’s votes feel to millions of Americans like déjà vu all over again, with their elected representatives skirting their fiscal responsibilities and kicking the can down the road, but not without first injecting a dose of unaccountable spending on questionable priorities that many members of the electorate do not share.

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