Valley Congressman help avert government shutdown

(James Steidl on Adobe Stock)

Congress members Costa, Duarte, Valadao and McCarthy vote to keep the government in operation through mid-November

CENTRAL VALLEY – A government shutdown was narrowly avoided this past weekend after Congress approved House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s stopgap plan to keep it up and running until November.

The bill, H.R. 5860, otherwise known as the “stopgap” funding measure, was both brought to the House floor and later signed off by President Biden on Sept. 30. The bill will continue government funding for federal programs, including national parks and disaster relief, through Nov. 17.

Valley Congress members Jim Costa (21st District) John Duarte (13th District) David Valado (22nd District) and McCarthy (20th District) voted for the bill.

“It is Congress’s most basic duty to keep our government running for the American people,” Democrat Costa said via press release. “We need to avert a federal government shutdown. We still have a lot of work to do to secure a long-term bipartisan budget that puts the needs of the American people first.”

The final House vote was 335 in favor, 91 against with seven members abstaining; 90 Republicans and one Democrat voted against the legislation. It was then sent to the Senate before the President’s signing, where it passed with a final vote of 88 to nine.

Republican Durate issued a statement on the passing of the bill, saying this act has shown the American people that “we can come together for the wellbeing of our nation.”

“However, it’s important to recognize that this is a short-term funding measure and not a long-term solution,” Durate said. “In the next 45 days, I am committed to working tirelessly to pass fiscally responsible budget bills.”

Regarding the bill, Republican Valadao said he – alongside many other citizens – is frustrated by the political brinkmanship that pushed officials right up against the deadline to fund the government.

“Compromise is necessary to get anything done in a divided government, and from the beginning I have stressed the need to work across the aisle to pass something that could get support in a Republican-controlled House and a Democratic-controlled Senate,” Valadao said. “I will continue working to rein in wasteful Washington spending so we do not burden our future generations with trillions of dollars in debt.”

McCarthy did not issue a press release or statement on his website.

LITMUS TEST

The issue was widely regarded as a litmus test for McCarthy’s control over division among House Republicans. At the start of this year, the conservative Freedom Caucus had 49 members. Forty-five of these members voted against the stopgap proposal.

Despite Costa’s and Valadao’s statements concerning bipartisan efforts, Saturday’s House activities leading up to the passage of the bill showcased fractures, not fraternity.

According to the political website The Hill, Representative Jamaal Bowman, D-NY, pulled a fire alarm that resulted in a brief evacuation of the Capitol. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries engaged in a 50-minute “filibuster” to allow Democrats more time to weigh McCarthy’s revised proposals.

Following the vote, McCarthy – who had to make concessions to the caucus and other conservatives before the House approved him as Speaker – addressed criticism from hard-right critics that he caved to demands from Democrats.

“If someone wants to make a motion against me, bring it,” McCarthy said in a news conference after the House passed the bill. “There has to be an adult in the room.”

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz (1st District) who is a member of the Freedom Caucus and who has been a vocal critic of McCarthy, responded as he appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” saying: “Kevin McCarthy’s gonna get his wish.”

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