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House Fails To Pass Stopgap Funding Bill To Avoid Government Shutdown

The House of Representatives failed to pass a continuing resolution negotiated between conservative and moderate House Republicans in an effort to avoid a government shutdown.

The Spending Reduction and Border Security Act was introduced by Republican Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida on Sept. 18, following negotiations between the conservative House Freedom Caucus and centrist Main Street Caucus, as a compromise between divided factions of the House Republican Conference to achieve unanimity while avoiding a government shutdown. The bill failed the House by a vote of 198 yeas to 232 nays, with all Democrats voting against the bill.

The bill would fund the government until Oct. 31 and cut public spending by 8.1285%, according to the bill’s text. This would yield $1.59 trillion for one month until the House and Senate pass 12 appropriations bills to provide permanent funding for the 2024 fiscal year.

Much of the bill does not relate to appropriations but to immigration law enforcement and border security. House conservatives insisted upon these measures as a condition for approving a continuing resolution, even as congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden have staunchly opposed such policy provisions.

Those provisions include the construction of a border wall along the United States’ international border with Mexico that was begun during the Trump administration and bans the U.S. Border Patrol from processing the entry of illegal immigrants who do not enter the country at a designated port of entry, which would preclude beginning the asylum application process. The bill also bans the Department of Homeland Security from funding non-governmental organizations that provide relief to illegal immigrants or assist them in entering the country unlawfully, as well as bans the use of the “CBPOne” mobile application, which U.S. Customs and Border Protection has used to process asylum claims before migrants reach the border.

The bill does not explicitly mention any funding for Ukraine during its war against Russia, which has been a controversial issue during the appropriations process that has divided the House Republican Conference. On Thursday night, 117 members of the conference voted to preclude the bill from funding Ukraine while 101 members voted to maintain such funding, which has been supported by Democrats.

The Biden administration issued a statement on Friday staunchly opposing the bill, claiming that its cuts to public spending were too severe. It indicated that President Joe Biden will veto the bill if it is presented to him, which means it is unlikely to be passed by the Democratic-led Senate, either.

The Senate has been working on its own bipartisan continuing resolution to fund the government, which includes funding for Ukraine. House Republicans have criticized the bill, with Donalds saying that it is “dead on arrival” in the House.

The U.S. government will shut down at midnight on Oct. 1 if a continuing resolution is not passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Joe Biden.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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