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Govt Shutdown Averted, Biden Signs Bill10/01 08:59

   The threat of a federal government shutdown suddenly lifted late Saturday as 
President Joe Biden signed a temporary funding bill to keep agencies open with 
little time to spare after Congress rushed to approve the bipartisan deal.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The threat of a federal government shutdown suddenly 
lifted late Saturday as President Joe Biden signed a temporary funding bill to 
keep agencies open with little time to spare after Congress rushed to approve 
the bipartisan deal.

   The package drops aid to Ukraine, a White House priority opposed by a 
growing number of GOP lawmakers, but increases federal disaster assistance by 
$16 billion, meeting Biden's full request. The bill funds government until Nov. 

   After chaotic days of turmoil in the House, Speaker Kevin McCarthy abruptly 
abandoned demands for steep spending cuts from his right flank and instead 
relied on Democrats to pass the bill, at risk to his own job. The Senate 
followed with final passage closing a whirlwind day at the Capitol.

   "This is good news for the American people," Biden said in a statement.

   He also said the United States "cannot under any circumstances allow 
American support for Ukraine to be interrupted" and expected McCarthy "will 
keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support 
needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment."

   It's been a sudden head-spinning turn of events in Congress ahead of the 
midnight funding deadline after grueling days in the House pushed the 
government to the brink of a disruptive federal shutdown.

   The outcome ends, for now, the threat of a shutdown, but the reprieve may be 
short-lived. Congress will again need to fund the government in coming weeks 
risking a crisis as views are hardening, particularly among the right-flank 
lawmakers whose demands were ultimately swept aside this time in favor of a 
more bipartisan approach.

   "We're going to do our job," McCarthy, R-Calif., said before the House vote. 
"We're going to be adults in the room. And we're going to keep government open."

   If no deal was in place before Sunday, federal workers would have faced 
furloughs, more than 2 million active-duty and reserve military troops would 
have had to work without pay and programs and services that Americans rely on 
from coast to coast would have begun to face shutdown disruptions.

   "It has been a day full of twists and turns, but the American people can 
breathe a sigh of relief: There will be no government shutdown," said Senate 
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

   The package funds government at current 2023 levels until mid-November, and 
also extends other provisions, including for the Federal Aviation 
Administration. The package was approved by the House 335-91, with most 
Republicans and almost all Democrats supporting. Senate passage came by an 88-9 

   But the loss of Ukraine aid was devastating for lawmakers of both parties 
vowing to support President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after his recent Washington 
visit. The Senate bill included $6 billion for Ukraine, and both chambers came 
to a standstill Saturday as lawmakers assessed their options.

   "The American people deserve better," said House Democratic leader Hakeem 
Jeffries of New York, warning in a lengthy floor speech that "extreme" 
Republicans were risking a shutdown.

   For the House package to be approved, McCarthy was forced to rely on 
Democrats because the speaker's hard-right flank has said it will oppose any 
short-term funding measure, denying him the votes needed from his slim 
majority. It's a move that is sure to intensify calls for his ouster.

   After leaving the conservative holdouts behind, McCarthy is almost certain 
to be facing a motion to try to remove him from office, though it is not at all 
certain there would be enough votes to topple the speaker. Most Republicans 
voted for the package Saturday while 90 opposed.

   "If somebody wants to remove me because I want to be the adult in the room, 
go ahead and try," McCarthy said of the threat to oust him. "But I think this 
country is too important."

   The White House was tracking the developments on Capitol Hill and aides were 
briefing the president, who was spending the weekend in Washington.

   Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who has championed Ukraine aid 
despite resistance from his own ranks, is expected to keep pursuing U.S. 
support for Kyiv in the fight against Russia.

   "I have agreed to keep fighting for more economic and security aid for 
Ukraine," McConnell, R-Ky., said before the vote.

   Late at night, the Senate stalled when Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., held up 
the vote, seeking assurances Ukraine funds would be reconsidered.

   "I know important moments are like this, for the United States, to lead the 
rest of the world," Bennet said, noting his mother was born in Poland in 1938 
and survived the Holocaust. "We can't fail."

   The House's quick pivot comes after the collapse Friday of McCarthy's 
earlier plan to pass a Republican-only bill with steep spending cuts up to 30% 
to most government agencies and strict border provisions that the White House 
and Democrats rejected as too extreme. A faction of 21 hard-right Republican 
holdouts opposed it.

   "Our options are slipping away every minute," said one senior Republican, 
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida.

   The federal government had been heading straight into a shutdown that posed 
grave uncertainty for federal workers in states all across America and the 
people who depend on them -- from troops to border control agents to office 
workers, scientists and others.

   Families that rely on Head Start for children, food benefits and countless 
other programs large and small were confronting potential interruptions or 
outright closures. At the airports, Transportation Security Administration 
officers and air traffic controllers had been expected to work without pay, but 
travelers could have faced delays in updating their U.S. passports or other 
travel documents.

   The White House has brushed aside McCarthy's overtures to meet with Biden 
after the speaker walked away from the debt deal they brokered earlier this 
year that set budget levels.

   Catering to his hard-right flank, McCarthy had made multiple concessions 
including returning to the spending limits the conservatives demanded back in 
January as part of the deal-making to help him become the House speaker.

   But it was not enough as the conservatives insisted the House follow regular 
rules, and debate and approve each of the 12 separate spending bills needed to 
fund the government agencies, typically a months-long process. In the Senate, 
all the no votes against the package came from Republicans.

   McCarthy's chief Republican critic, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, has warned 
he will file a motion calling a vote to oust the speaker.

   Some of the Republican holdouts, including Gaetz, are allies of former 
President Donald Trump, who is Biden's chief rival in the 2024 race. Trump has 
been encouraging the Republicans to fight hard for their priorities and even to 
"shut it down."

   At an early closed-door meeting at the Capitol, several House Republicans, 
particularly those facing tough reelections next year, urged their colleagues 
to find a way to prevent a shutdown.

   "All of us have a responsibility to lead and to govern," said Republican 
Rep. Mike Lawler of New York.

   The lone House Democrat to vote against the package, Rep. Mike Quigley of 
Illinois, the co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, said, "Protecting 
Ukraine is in our national interest."

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