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Averted Shutdown Exposes Rifts Between Conservative And Establishment Republicans

Holland McKinnie
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In a critical move to prevent a government shutdown, Congress passed a stopgap bill late Saturday, just hours before the midnight deadline. The stopgap measure maintains federal funding at its current levels until November 17. While this brought a sigh of relief to many, it has also unveiled significant omissions and exposed tensions within the halls of Congress.

This last-minute approval came with an 88-9 vote from the Senate and a 335-91 vote from the House. After heading to Joe Biden’s desk for signing, the bill has managed to keep the government afloat temporarily but also highlighted the absence of aid to Ukraine, a provision Democrats ardently supported.

Joe Biden quickly capitalized on the compromise by blaming “extreme House Republicans” for this “manufactured crisis.” He said, “Just a few months ago, Speaker McCarthy and I reached a budget agreement to avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis.” He accused the faction of demanding cuts that would significantly impact millions of Americans, all of which failed to materialize in the final bill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) echoed Biden’s sentiment, attributing the potential shutdown to “MAGA extremists” but celebrating the bipartisan effort that averted it. Schumer, on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, stated, “Today, MAGA extremists have failed, bipartisanship has prevailed.”

However, the bill’s approval and the subsequent avoidance of a government shutdown seem more a win for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and less an embodiment of bipartisan success. Despite facing potential backlash from hardline conservatives and navigating through internal turbulence, McCarthy managed to secure agreement from Congressional Democrats and the Senate on a clean stopgap.

“I think Speaker McCarthy has been magnificent. He’s pulled a rabbit out of the hat a couple of times best I can count,” praised Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on McCarthy’s efforts and success in the negotiation. McCarthy’s strategic planning has not only prevented the government from heading into a shutdown but also sheltered the majority of House Republicans from bearing the blame for one.

However, the bill’s notable omissions are poignant. It fails to address the pressing issues concerning Ukraine. It does not carry any provisions relating to the GOP’s concerns over border security, leaving both parties disappointed and conservative members vocalizing their concerns over border security being neglected.


The bill’s shortcomings do not stop here. While it includes an additional $16 billion in natural disaster aid, the temporary resolution does not address the critical support needed by Ukraine. The Biden administration has cautioned against the perils of not allocating more American tax dollars to the Ukraine war effort, emphasizing that American support for Ukraine should not be interrupted under any circumstances.

While the stopgap has granted temporary respite and has provided additional disaster relief funding, the lingering uncertainty over Ukraine’s aid and the glaring exclusion of GOP provisions addressing border security underscores the deep-seated ideological divides and the continual struggle for bipartisan consensus in Congress.  

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