Shutdown Showdown: Government Shutdown Averted…For Now

Sep 29, 2011 12:02pm

The House of Representatives approved the Senate’s version of a temporary spending bill today, avoiding a government shutdown…at least for now.

The stop-gap measure, known as a bridge continuing resolution, funds the government through the end of the day Tuesday, Oct. 4. The bill now heads to the White House for the president’s signature.

The CR, which funds the government at the $1.043 billion spending level agreed to earlier this year, was approved by unanimous consent during a pro forma session as members of the House are on a week-long recess to mark the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

Today’s pro forma session lasted all of the five minutes and 17 seconds it took the House chaplain to deliver a prayer, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, to maneuver through parliamentarian procedure to approve the measure.

Speculation that a single lawmaker today would object to the short-term CR and request a roll call vote left the bill’s passage in doubt, but in the end none of the 24 Republicans and 179 Democrats that voted against the House-passed bill last week appeared at the Capitol today to withhold their consent.

Next week, the House will return to session and lawmakers will hold a vote on the Senate’s long-term measure that would fund the government at the same level through Nov. 18.

The House had previously passed an alternative measure to fund the government through Nov. 18, but it was rejected by the Senate in favor of a bill without offsets to increases in disaster relief funding. That bill had included $1 billion additional money for disaster relief to get FEMA through the end of this fiscal year, which ends Friday, and that extra assistance was off-set with $1.501 billion in cuts to two clean energy programs. The Senate’s bill that passed earlier this week did not include those off-sets or the supplemental disaster relief funding for this year, since FEMA later discovered enough cash to keep the agency open through the end of the week.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., blamed the hype surrounding the prospect of a government shutdown on House Republicans.

“Democrats insisted that we meet the immediate needs of those suffering from disasters without sacrificing American jobs. We stood firm against Republican efforts to balance the budget on the backs of those hit by natural hurricanes, floods and earthquakes disasters by destroying good-paying American jobs,” Pelosi said in a written statement. “Now that another Republican-manufactured shutdown crisis was averted, we must now address the top priority of the American people: jobs.”

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