US House reaches deal in bid to avoid government shutdown


The House Republicans and Democrats on Saturday struck a deal to fund the government and avoid a shutdown.

The House of Representatives voted 335-91 on a short-term funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, according to Sky News’ US partner network NBC News.

The bill would keep the government open for another 45 days – if signed into law by US President Joe Biden.

It will now head to the Senate, where lawmakers there say they would not object to a speedy vote. The vote is expected within the next couple of hours.

For bills to become law, they need to be passed through both the House of Representatives, also known as the lower house, and the Senate, the upper house.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy

The US government was on course to shut down after Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy failed to agree a deal with hard right wing Republicans over discretionary spending, a necessity for the new US financial year, which starts on 1 October.

But hours away from the midnight deadline, Mr McCarthy dropped demands for steep spending cuts and, in essence, dared Democrats to vote against the deal and shut down the government.

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“Kevin McCarthy, has not been able to take anything forward with the support of the Republicans alone, so at the last minute he has said ‘okay I’m going to rely on Democrat support to push things forward’,” Sky News US correspondent, James Matthews said.

The new plan increases federal disaster aid by $16bn (£13bn) but does not include aid to Ukraine – a White House priority opposed by a growing number of Republican representatives.

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Initially, Democrats objected to the lack of Ukraine aid, and complained that they had not had time to read the 71-page bill, but in the end, the vast majority agreed the deal was good enough.

“We’re going to do our job,” Mr McCarthy said ahead of voting. “We’re going to be adults in the room. And we’re going to keep government open.”

If passed, the bill would fund the government at current 2023 levels until 17 November.

The Senate had been working on its own bipartisan bill to keep the government open, which is similar to the one proposed by the House of Representatives, but would have added $6bn (£4.9bn) for Ukraine to fight the war against Russia and $6bn for US disaster relief.

The pivot comes after the collapse of Mr McCarthy’s earlier plans that sought spending cuts up to 30% to most government agencies, that both the White House and Democrats rejected as too extreme.

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