Recent efforts to prevent the closure of American federal institutions gained positive momentum on Saturday, with Democrats supporting by a wide majority a Republican proposal to maintain the continuation of federal funding for 45 days, even if it means freezing aid to Ukraine.
The temporary proposal, approved by the House by a 335-91 vote from Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy, was introduced just hours before a midnight shutdown that would have kept millions of federal and military employees’ homes or working without pay.
The project must still be approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate.
CNN quoted a government official as saying that the White House is likely to support the draft law in order to continue the activity of federal institutions, with the expectation that the administration will be able to resume aid to Ukraine at a later time.
The shutdown crisis was sparked largely by a small group of hardline Republicans who challenged their party’s leadership as they pushed for deep spending cuts.
Saturday’s agreement could lead to McCarthy losing his position, after hardliners threatened to remove him as Speaker of the House of Representatives if the temporary measure they opposed was passed.
In presenting his latest proposal, McCarthy implored Republicans and Democrats alike to put aside their partisanship and rejected his threat of impeachment.
“If someone wants to fire me because I want to be the adult in the room, go ahead and try,” McCarthy added.
The proposed plan would keep government funding at current levels without the spending cuts that Republican hardliners want and that Democrats consider non-negotiable, but halting aid to Ukraine poses a problem for Democrats.
Arming and financing Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion has been a major political plank of President Joe Biden’s administration, and although this gap is only temporary, it raises questions about the possibility of resuming the disbursement of billions of dollars in aid to Kiev.
The Democratic-controlled Senate was prepared to vote on another temporary bill later Saturday – one that includes continued support for Ukraine.
Democratic member of the House of Representatives Jared Moskowitz told CNN, “This is enough to keep the government working, and I won’t close the government because of foreign aid,” explaining that he is a strong supporter of Ukrainian aid.
If the Senate doesn’t approve the project, all government services except vital ones will stop at midnight on Saturday (04:00 GMT Sunday), and this will be the first closure since 2019.
While all vital government services will continue, the closure will affect the majority of national parks – from the famous Yosemite and Yellowstone parks in the west to the Everglades in Florida.
As student loan payments resume in October, officials also said Friday that major activities at the federal Office of Student Aid will continue for a few weeks.
But continuing the closure for a long period may cause greater economic disruptions.