The Biden Administration Behind Congress’s Wall

Parisa Pasandepour
12 Min Read
The Biden Administration Behind Congress's Wall

Biden government behind Congress wall

According to Iran Gate’s report, the Biden government signed a bill to keep the government open until mid-November. There were only a few hours left for the House of Representatives and the Senate to pass a bipartisan bill to prevent a government shutdown, and President Biden had to sign it before the deadline of midnight on November 30. This law includes more domestic assistance for domestic issues and emergencies, but no financial aid is provided for Ukraine.

Congress was able to narrowly prevent a government shutdown on Saturday, as the House of Representatives approved a temporary budget bill in an unbelievable twist to avoid a government shutdown until mid-November. After Senate approval, President Biden had to sign this bill.

A coalition of Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives, following a series of incidents in the Congress building, voted to pass a bill that maintains the flow of money to government agencies and provides billions of dollars to address emergencies, events, and natural disasters.

Despite pressure from the White House and members of both parties in the Senate, this bill did not include any financial aid to Ukraine. However, the Democrats in the House of Representatives accepted this proposal and considered it the most suitable solution to prevent widespread disruption in the government.

Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House Minority Leader, who had rejected requests for weeks to collaborate with Democrats to address the cost issue, outlined the Republican proposal in a closed-door session on Saturday and then quickly brought it to the floor under a special bill.

Initially, the Democrats were unhappy that Mr. McCarthy presented this bill without their knowledge and was trying to get them to approve this 71-page bill without sufficient review. However, they did not want to be accused of holding back US assistance to Ukraine in order to keep government agencies running and pay the salaries of two million military personnel and one and a half million federal employees. Mike Lauder, a Republican representative from New York, questioned the Democrats in the House chamber, asking, ‘Are you telling me that if there is no budget for Ukraine, you will shut down the government?’

However, ultimately, there were a significant number of his Republican colleagues who voted to shut down the government. The plan passed with 335 in favor and 91 against, a result similar to the earlier vote this year to suspend federal debt limits. This could pose problems for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as an extremist right-wing faction threatened to remove him from the speakership if he cooperated with Democrats to prevent a government shutdown.

But after unsuccessful efforts on Friday to secure enough Republican votes to prevent a government shutdown, Mr. McCarthy had no other choice if he wanted to avoid a politically and economically damaging shutdown than to cooperate with the Democrats. He presented the bill to the House floor without certainty of its approval, saying, ‘I am willing to take a gamble.’

Immediately after the final approval of the bill by the House of Representatives, it was referred to the Senate and the responsibility for accepting this resolution was delegated to the Senate. Despite several alternative options proposed by Senate Republicans to approve the House bill, the Senate set aside its own resolution, which included $6 billion in financial aid for Ukraine, and approved the version passed by the House of Representatives with 88 in favor and 9 against.

Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat and the Majority Leader, said after the Senate vote, about three hours before the deadline, that the American people can breathe easy, as there will be no government shutdown. After the failed attempt by extremist Republicans to hold our government hostage, they couldn’t get anything.

Joe Biden, in a statement after the passage of this bill in the Senate, called it good news for the American people. He added, ‘I fully expect the Speaker of the House to uphold his commitment to the people of Ukraine and ensure the necessary support is approved to help Ukraine in this critical moment.’

Members of both parties said they are confident that they can provide the necessary support for Ukraine in the coming weeks. However, the absence of funding in this bill reflects a decrease in Republican support for increasing the budget for military and economic assistance to Ukraine. Congress has already approved approximately $113 billion in military and economic aid in the form of four support packages since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and President Biden has requested an additional $24 billion.

Mike Quigley, the only Democratic representative from Illinois who voted against this bill, said that this bill is a victory for Putin and his supporters. He further added that I voted against it because it does not include financial aid to Ukraine. We now have 45 days to correct this egregious mistake. Far-right Republicans refrained from supporting their temporary budget bill because it maintained the budget levels set when Democrats controlled Congress last year.

Andy Biggs, the Republican representative from Arizona, wrote on the X social network today that instead of standing alongside his party, he joined 209 Democratic representatives to continue a bill that would preserve the levels and policies of expenses and expenditures set by Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer. He allowed the Democratic party to win again. Should he remain as the Speaker of the House?

A large number of Republicans refrained from supporting this bill, which set aside strict immigration restrictions that many of them had advocated for. Before the vote, Kevin McCarthy stated that he realized this bill could challenge his job, but he was willing to risk it in order to pass a bill that wouldn’t shut down the government and prevent its closure. Matt Gaetz, the Republican representative from Florida, was one of those who threatened to remove Mr. McCarthy. He believed that Kevin McCarthy’s speech was very weak.

At the end, the Democrats were very pleased with the outcome. Representative Jeffrey Hakim from New York and leader of the Democrats said as he headed to the Congress to vote on this bill, ‘The extremist Republicans have been defeated and the American people have emerged victorious.’ Saturday was a rollercoaster day for the Capitol Hill building.

While the Democratic members of Congress were taking Mr. McCarthy’s proposal to study and examine it, fire alarm bells rang in the administrative building, forcing the evacuation. Later, it was revealed that Representative Jamal Bowman from New York had triggered the fire alarm, although he claimed it was accidental.

Despite intense efforts, the temporary budget bill is only a temporary solution to combat expenses, which will likely be revived quickly. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are striving to pass one-year spending bills, and Republican members of the House have canceled the October recess to focus on the temporary budget bill. However, there is still a significant divide between the two parties and the two chambers.

Republican members of the House of Representatives are demanding a significant reduction in expenses, cutting aid to Ukraine, and imposing immigration restrictions to stem the wave of asylum seekers crossing the southern border at any cost. Senators from both parties argue that Congress must adhere to the higher budget levels set earlier this year in negotiations between Biden and Kevin McCarthy and support continuing aid to Ukraine.

Ahead of the sudden turn of events on Saturday, federal agencies were preparing to shut down if the temporary budget bill was not approved. Essential personnel, such as employees of the air traffic and airport security departments, would still be on the job but without pay until the impasse was resolved, putting millions of low-income mothers and children at risk of losing food and medical assistance.

The biggest obstacle to the approval of the bill was that the House of Representatives, where Republicans have a small minority, is under the influence of a right-wing faction that has clearly shown its intention to convey its message that Washington is bankrupt and federal spending is out of control. They may even be eager to shut down this group’s support for any proposal that even temporarily prevents cuts to the federal budget.

Kevin McCarthy, faced with the choice between a shutdown and right-wing extremism, relied on the Democrats to escape another crisis. McCarthy said before the House vote, ‘What I want is for both Republicans and Democrats to set aside their partisanship and focus on the American people.’

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Master's Degree in International Relations from the Faculty of Diplomatic Sciences and International Relations, Genoa, Italy.