U.S. House, Senate Avoid Government Shutdown…for Now
The United States House and Senate passed bills Saturday with the support of the New Hampshire congressional delegation that provided funding, putting off a shutdown of the federal government for 45 days.
It was House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's last chance to keep the government running without interruption to pay for essential federal workers and members of the military. They would not have received their pay until funding resumed. Workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are considered to be doing work vital to national security, and would have had to report to their jobs as usual.
Federal aid programs would have continued at reduced levels.
The bill funding government at current levels passed the House by a vote of 335-91 and moved onto the Senate, where it passed 88-9. President Joe Biden signed the bill late Saturday night.
Missing from the plan was aid to Ukraine, which will likely be voted on separately.
New Hampshire's Democratic congressional delegation stayed in Washington to cast votes for the bill, and did not attend the state Democratic party midterm convention.
In their statements following the votes, members lamented the lack of Ukraine aid and chided Republicans. Their ire was aimed at a group of 21 "hard right" Republicans who were holding out for major spending cuts and increased border protection.
“While this temporary fix will ensure federal workers and service members get their paychecks and families can continue to access critical services, I’m deeply disappointed this stop-gap bill does not include any new aid to support Ukraine’s war efforts," Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, said in a statement. "Republican refusal to do so only emboldens Putin and his efforts to reshape the world order, which could continue to have severe impacts right here at home, such as higher fuel and food prices, creating hardship for American families. I will work with my colleagues to stand by Ukraine to ensure additional aid is included in any long-term funding legislation.”
Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, is concerned about the impact of a lack of funding for Ukraine.
“Ukrainians are fighting for what we have – freedom and autonomy. If Putin or other autocrats are emboldened by a successful invasion of Ukraine, we could see future aggression across the globe, including targeted at NATO countries and other places that the United States is committed to supporting with our military directly — potentially putting American lives on the line," Hassan wrote. "So as Putin and dictators around the world watch what the United States does, I will not let up in pushing for our nation to continue standing united with our allies to support Ukraine and counter Putin.”
Rep. Chris Pappas called on McCarthy to end the "partisan brinksmanship" while working out details of a permanent budget.
“With just hours remaining before government funding runs out, I’m glad that the House finally passed a bipartisan proposal to prevent a shutdown and fund essential priorities, including natural disaster relief. But I’m frustrated that this measure was not brought forward until the last minute, wasting precious time on a manufactured political crisis instead of the issues our constituents are counting on us to address," Pappas wrote in a statement.
In a statement on behalf of the New Democrat Coalition (a group of "100 center left Democrats"), 2nd Congressional district Rep. Anne Kuster said the deal is not perfect.
"I was proud to vote to fund the government & avoid an expensive, senseless shutdown. While I’m relieved that level heads prevailed, we should’ve never been in this crisis in the first place. I‘ll keep working to advance a bipartisan, long-term solution."