The U.S Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown last week when the House of Representatives voted 211-179 in favor of a stopgap funding bill from Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California). While the bill received support from both Democrats and Republicans, there were 21 members of Congress, all Republicans, that voted against it.
McCarthy’s bill proposed a temporary continuation of funding, without long-term extensions or policy additions, for those departments and agencies affected by the government shutdown. This would give Congress more time to negotiate a budget for the 2020 fiscal year, while maintaining stability in the government. By avoiding a shutdown, it also prevented any potential economic harm that may have been caused.
The Republican Representatives who voted no cited their displeasure with the delayed negotiation of a proper 2020 fiscal year budget as their reason, arguing that it was irresponsible to pass a bill without funding secure. Not extending a long-term solution, in their view, only delayed the inevitable and put off any meaningful progress in resolving the issue.
The list of those who voted no included Representatives Joaquin Castro (Texas), Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Dusty Johnson (South Dakota), Mario Díaz-Balart (Florida), and Jim Banks (Indiana), among others.
The decision of these 21 members of Congress to vote against the stopgap funding bill and McCarthy’s reasoning behind it highlights the growing debate within the Republican party on how best to address government funding issues in the long-term. While many agreed with McCarthy and voted in favor of the bill, the vote demonstrated there is still far from consensus among the party on how to proceed.
Ultimately, it’s up to the members of Congress and the President to come up with a more permanent solution to avert any future government shutdowns. Until then, the decision by the House to pass McCarthy’s funding bill has successfully prevented one for now, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate a resolution is in the cards.