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9 House Republicans break with party, vote for Democrats’ funding bill

By Sarah May on
 December 16, 2022

In a move sure to upset many in the GOP, nine House Republicans broke ranks and sided with Democrats Wednesday to approve a one-week stopgap funding measure designed to prevent a government shutdown and buy time to hammer out a longer-term deal, as The Hill reports.

Ultimately, the lower chamber passed the bill by a 224-201 margin, sending the legislation on to the Senate, which granted its approval Thursday night, as NBC News noted.

Nine break ranks

Leaders in the GOP had urged representatives to vote no on the funding measure, with Minority Whip Steve Scalise (LA) issuing a notice to fellow party members saying that the bill was “an attempt to buy additional time for a massive lame-duck spending bill in which House Republicans have had no seat at the negotiating table.”

A number of Republicans in the House had instead advocated for approval of a continuing resolution that would carry into next year, thus affording the incoming GOP majority far more influence over the final spending bill.

Even so, nine Republican lawmakers went their own way and lent their support to the bill.

Most of the Republicans who broke ranks with their party colleagues were legislators who are leaving Congress due to retirement or because they were defeated in primary elections earlier this year.

The list of recalcitrant Republicans included perennial dissenters Reps. Adam Kinzinger (IL) and Liz Cheney (WY), as well as Chris Jacobs (NY), Anthony Gonzalez (OH) Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), John Katko (NY), Steve Womack (AR), Fred Upton (MI), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA).

Spending debate flares

As Roll Call noted, during floor debate in the House, Appropriations Committee Member Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) argued, “We should be passing a continuing resolution into next year instead of buying more time to rush through a massive spending package.”

According to Democrat Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT), chair of said committee, Republicans can only point the finger of blame back at themselves for the fact that a continuing resolution is even on the table.

“They were invited to the table many, many times to join the negotiations. They decided not to do that. So we find ourselves here,” DeLauro said.

Senate says yes

Following the successful vote in the House, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) expressed his hope that the upper chamber would swiftly approve the continuing resolution so as the prevent the looming partial government shutdown, and, on Thursday evening, his wish was granted.

Prior to passage in the Senate, Schumer contended, according to the New York Post, “This is about taking a very simple, exceedingly responsible step to ensure we finish the year without hiccups and with minimal drama. A one-week CR will give us more time so we can keep working.”

Schumer also issued words of caution to any Republicans contemplating resistance, stating that it was incumbent on all to “pass a one-week CR quickly without the unwelcome brouhaha that has provoked shutdowns in the past.”

“And remember, as we go through this appropriations process,” Schumer warned, “the experiences of the last decades show that those who risked shutdowns in order to make political points always lose in the end.”

For his part, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) raised little in the way of objection to the one-week measure but noted that the chamber would be saddled with a “challenging sprint” with regard to achieving agreement on an omnibus bill by his own Dec. 22 deadline.

Omnibus in the offing?

The Post further noted that earlier in the week congressional negotiators on both sides of the aisle presented a framework for the aforementioned omnibus spending measure but revealed few details in terms of dollar amounts or programming priorities affected.

It is, however, thought that the package will encompass additional aide for Ukraine in its war with Russia as well as funding to facilitate reform in the area of presidential election certification, according to the Post.

Of course, if compromise proves elusive, McConnell has made no bones about what will happen next, according to Roll Call, saying, “If a truly bipartisan, full-year bill without poison pills is ready for final Senate passage by late next week, then I'll support it, for our armed forces particularly. Otherwise, we'll be passing a short-term continuing resolution into the new year.”