Federal Shutdown Avoided

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       The threat of a federal government shutdown ended late last night when Congress approved a temporary funding bill to keep federal agencies open until Nov. 17.  The package drops aid for Ukraine but adds money for U-S disaster assistance. 

      The bill passed just hours before the midnight deadline and President Joe Biden quickly signed it, calling the agreement “good news for the American people.” 

      The majority-Democrat Senate had offered temporary spending proposals earlier in the week, but the House majority Republicans had failed to pass any stop-gap package until last night  when Speaker Kevin McCarthy abandoned plans for steep spending cuts

     The new measure easily passed both chambers. The 335-91 margin in the House saw just one Democrat vote no while all Senate Democrats and all but 9 Republicans voted for it.

     The package has no additional funding for military relief or humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but Speaker McCarthy said he would bring a stand-alone Ukraine bill to the floor. 

     Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Tennessee repeated his support for Ukraine and President Biden said he expects McCarthy to keep “his commitment” to the Ukrainian people and push for aid “at this critical moment” in the war with Russia.

      If the stop-gap funding bill hadn’t passed by midnight, federal workers would have faced furloughs, more than 2 million active-duty and reserve military troops would have worked without pay, and many programs and services would have started to shut down.

     The Department of Interior had planned to close almost all of the 425 National Park Service sites across the nation, but a separate agreement on Friday would have allowed Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Badlands National Park to stay open.

     That’s because the state of South Dakota reached an agreement with the Park Service to keep them open with state funds. South Dakota Secretary of Tourism Jim Hagen announced the deal at the annual Custer State Park Buffalo Round-Up