House Approves Govt. Spending Bills, Senate is Expected to Move Quickly Before Deadline

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A $1.2 trillion spending package is making its way through Congress to keep remaining portions of the government funded through September. Late Friday morning, the package cleared its biggest hurdle by passing the Republican-led House. 

This is the final piece to a long-overdue budget after months of short-term extensions to avoid a government shutdown. 

The package was unveiled to lawmakers within the last 48 hours, resulting in a very tight turnaround.  

In total, there are six spending bills for the departments of State, Homeland Security, Defense, Labor and Health and Human Services, as well as funds for foreign operations, financial services and the legislative branch. 

The House approved the spending package 286-134 with support from the majority of House Democrats. 112 Republicans voted against the package, and some of them now want to remove House Speaker Mike Johnson (R- LA) for working with Democrats to pass the spending bills. A similar scenario resulted in the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy last Fall. 

“I think the Speaker is trying to do everything he can,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R- PA). “Look, there are certain members that no matter what the Speaker would have agreed to, would have said ‘No way.’ But if you’re not at that table in the negotiations, it’s easy to sit on the sidelines and say you should’ve done this or should’ve done that,” added Kelly, who voted to pass the spending bills. 

Kelly said it’s important to remember that at the end of the day “it’s not government spending, it’s taxpayer investment.” He said finding a perfect solution that satisfies everyone is difficult.  

Multiple short-term extensions, or “stop-gap” measure in recent months point to just how difficult, if not impossible, the task really is in such a closely divided Congress. 

“The spending bills are not perfect. No budget is perfect in a divided government, but this year’s plan includes significant wins for our military, our nation’s borders, American families, and hardworking American taxpayers,” said Kelly.  

Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R- PA) echoed similar remarks on Friday. 

“We’re a divided government. As of next week, we’ll have the smallest majority in history. When it comes to the appropriations, where you have to work with the Senate, and Republicans have to work with Democrats, you don’t get everything you want,” said Thompson. 

Rep. Nick Langworthy (R- NY) also voted to approve the spending bills. Some House Republicans voted “No” for different reasons. Rep. Jack Bergman (R- MI) applauds Speaker Johnson’s efforts but says the spending bills don’t fully address the needs of his constituents.  

“I voted ‘No.’ Because not only for me as the representative, but most importantly for our constituents in the district, this was a nonstarter,” said Rep. Bergman. “While it promised to do some things for border security by adding more jobs, more detention beds, all of that, it really does not even begin to secure the border.” 

“I want to applaud Speaker Johnson.” He has grown into the job. He’s getting things done. And nothing is ever going to be perfect. But I applaud his and the leadership’s efforts to get this bill to where it was, it just did not meet my, and my constituents, criteria for securing the border,” Bergman added. 

The package now heads to the Senate, which has until 11:59 tonight to get it done. If the deadline is not met tonight, there will be a temporary lapse in funding and senators would stay into the weekend until it’s finalized.