Congress Averts Government Shutdown With Last-Minute Funding Extension

As they have already done multiple times this fiscal year, federal lawmakers narrowly averted a partial government shutdown Thursday by passing a stopgap measure to further extend funding at FY 2023 levels.

Thursday, February 29th 2024, 9:41 pm

By: News 9, Alex Cameron


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As they have already done multiple times this fiscal year, federal lawmakers narrowly averted a partial government shutdown Thursday by passing a stopgap measure to further extend funding at FY 2023 levels.

The House passed the continuing resolution (CR), the fourth since last September, by a vote of 320-99 Thursday afternoon, with the Senate then sending it to President Biden’s desk on a 77-13 vote.

 No one in the Oklahoma delegation was happy about having to pass another CR, but some saw it as the appropriate and responsible step, while others say the move was highly inappropriate and irresponsible, “[one] that will sort of kick the can down the road ‘til next week." said Oklahoma Congressman Kevin Hern (R-OK1) in an interview Thursday.

Congressman Hern voted against the stopgap measure. He says the $1.66 trillion discretionary spending total that leadership agreed, which includes $70 billion in ‘side deals’ is too high. "The people were the First District sent me here to DC to cut spending, to rein in government,” Hern said, “and we’re just not doing it."

Also voting no was Rep. Josh Brecheen, who favored passing a year-long CR, as that would trigger an automatic one percent, across-the-board cut. "100 percent of our discretionary spending last year was borrowed money,” Brecheen (R-OK2) said in an interview, “and so it is beyond reasonable to say, 'can we not curtail that one percent?'"

The rest of the Oklahoma delegation, including both Senators, voted for the CR. "This is very short term,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK4), “it’s what we call a processing CR—the bills are basically negotiated, they’re being written now, we need to give the members enough time to read the bills.”

Cole says six of the 12 appropriations bills will be voted on next week, and the remaining six will be finalized before March 22. “The best thing that we can do right now is to pass appropriations bills that are specific funding for this year, rather than just continuing funding for last year,” said Sen. James Lankford in an interview Wednesday.

Frank Lucas agrees: “Then you’ll see the difference it makes, in a military pay raise, for instance, re-prioritizing money for spending at the Department of Defense to address the challenges coming from China, Iran, and those places."

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