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Stopgap funding bill to avert government shutdown heads to Biden's desk

By Darryl Coote & Jonna Lorenz
The House passed a short-term funding bill Friday with a vote of 230-201, to keep the government running through Dec. 16. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/26822822f8a31f8710caf042a097aa0b/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The House passed a short-term funding bill Friday with a vote of 230-201, to keep the government running through Dec. 16. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The House passed a stopgap funding resolution, sending the measure to President Joe Biden's desk hours before the midnight deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

Ten Republicans joined Democrats in passing the legislation with a 230-201 vote. The continuing resolution will provide funding through Dec. 16 and includes billions of dollars in emergency assistance to Ukraine to aid its war against Russia.

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Senators passed the bill 72 to 25 on Thursday, a day before federal coffers were to run dry.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urged members to vote against the bill over criticism that it doesn't address border security, supply-chain issues and inflation.

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The opposition marked a split from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who supported the bill.

In approving the legislation, the lawmakers agreed to $12.3 billion in assistance for Ukraine, including training, equipment, weapons and logistics support, as well as direct funds for the central government.

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It also includes $18.8 billion for FEMA's disaster relief fund, $1 billion to aid low-income households in covering heating costs, $2.5 billion for New Mexico communities affected by wildfires, $2 billion for communities impacted by recent disasters and $20 million for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements in Jackson, Miss.

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Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer from New York urged lawmakers from the Senate floor Thursday to pass the bill on the strength of its contents.

He said it's "filled with many good things both sides can support," such as funding for Ukraine and to keep heating bills down.

"The last thing the American people need now is a pointless government shutdown. I'm optimistic we're on track to avoiding one well before the funding deadline," he said.

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Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell also backed the resolution from the floor, championing its funding for Ukraine as funding to protect the United States' national security and that of its allies.

The funding will aid Ukraine in diminishing Russia's capacity to threaten other targets worldwide while deterring other authoritarian regimes, specifically China, he said.

"Ukraine needs more tanks, more fighting vehicles, longer-range rockets, artillery and air defense systems, more HIMARs, more drones and preparatory training in western fighter aircraft. And they need these things as soon as possible," he said.

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The bill was passed Thursday following weeks of negotiations, which saw Democrats discard efforts to include funding to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and the monkeypox outbreak as well as funds for an energy infrastructure project proposal by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who is also chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said in a statement prior to the vote that he was "disappointed" that the ongoing medical concerns weren't addressed in the bill due to Republican objections but that there will be time to push them forward.

"This is only a temporary measure," he said. "I am committed to completing the work of the Committee before the end of this Congress."

Though his proposal was removed, Manchin voted in favor of the continuing resolution and urged other lawmakers in a statement to work to keep the government from shutting down.

"We have a responsibility to prevent economic catastrophe for the American people, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to continue to work toward a compromise on the FY23 funding to avoid yet another extension that hurts the American people and our priorities," he said.

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