Shutdown Avoided – The New York Times


A government shutdown seemed all but certain. Millions of federal workers and members of the military braced for late paychecks. National parks planned to close.

Then came a stunning reversal. Last night, Congress approved a stopgap plan to keep the federal government open until mid-November, avoiding a shutdown just hours before the midnight deadline.

A coalition of House Democrats and Republicans voted to pass a plan that would keep money flowing to government agencies and provide billions of dollars for disaster recovery efforts. The bill does not include money for Ukraine, despite a push for it by the White House. The Senate approved it late last night, and President Biden signed it.

Below, we explain how Congress compromised and what battles over federal spending remain in the weeks ahead.

For weeks, Speaker Kevin McCarthy had brushed off demands to work with Democrats on a spending solution. Yesterday morning, though, McCarthy changed course. He informed House Republicans of the compromise plan, then rushed to get it to the floor, where he wasn’t sure it would pass.

“I like to gamble,” he said.

Democrats initially complained that McCarthy had sprung the plan on them without much time to scrutinize it. But they didn’t want to be accused of putting aid for Ukraine ahead of keeping the government open. Ultimately, they supported the bill, which passed 335 to 91. Ninety Republicans and one Democrat voted against it. (See how each member voted.)

Hard-right Republicans refused to support the stopgap bill because it essentially maintained funding at levels set when Congress was under Democratic control last year. Some had threatened to oust McCarthy from the speakership if he made a deal with the Democrats.

McCarthy recognized that the legislation might spark a challenge to his job, but said he was willing to risk it to keep the government open. “If someone wants to make a motion against me, bring it,” he said at a news conference after the House passed the bill. “There has to be an adult in the room.”

Members of both parties said they believed they could win money for Ukraine in the weeks ahead. But the decision to leave it out of the spending bill was a disappointment for the Biden administration. It was also a sign of Republicans’ waning support for funding the war.

Representative Mike Quigley, the only Democrat to vote against the bill, said he did so because it did not include aid to Ukraine. He called it “a victory for Putin and Putin sympathizers everywhere.”

Still, Democrats voted for the spending bill by a wide margin, and the party’s leadership celebrated its passage.

“The American people can breathe a sigh of relief: There will be no government shutdown,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader. “After trying to take our government hostage, MAGA Republicans won nothing.”

Despite the intense effort involved, the stopgap bill is only a temporary solution. The House and Senate are both struggling to approve yearlong spending bills, and the gulf between the two parties remains vast.

  • “It was like riding a mechanical bull all week,” one Republican representative said. Read more about the path to the deal.

  • McCarthy opted to keep the government open the only way he could — by partnering with Democrats.

  • His plan was an abrupt shift from his previous attempts to placate all corners of his party, including hard-liners, Politico reports.

  • Ukraine’s government said it was confident that the U.S. would continue to support its war against Russia.

  • Representative Jamaal Bowman, Democrat of New York, pulled a fire alarm as his party was trying to delay the vote earlier in the day.

  • Americans seemed largely disinterested in the impending government shutdown. They have come to expect chaos in the capital, Peter Baker reports.

  • The standoff over spending will continue well past this weekend, Dan Balz writes in The Washington Post.

  • Snipers are an overlooked but essential part of the war. The Times spent a week embedded with a Ukrainian sniper team on the front lines.

  • Ukrainian soldiers have turned cheap drones sold by China into weapons, giving Chinese suppliers influence.

The Inflation Reduction Act is transforming the economy. If Biden wants to get credit, the benefits for working people need to roll out soon, Robinson Meyer writes.

Here’s a column by Maureen Dowd on Dianne Feinstein.

The Sunday question: Did the Hollywood writers’ union get a good deal?

The Writers Guild of America won industry-specific benefits, such as writers’ room minimum pay and residuals for streaming, but also broader gains like protections surrounding the use of A.I. “For writers, it’s a storybook ending,” Adam Seth Litwin writes for Times Opinion. But the residuals system — how writers get paid — still doesn’t recognize the money in streaming. “The W.G.A., for all its other wins, got 0 percent,” Nelson Cheng writes for The Los Angeles Times.

Vows: A pastor and a pole dancer fell in love.

Lives Lived: Lori Teresa Yearwood was a journalist who returned to reporting after two years of homelessness and became a prominent voice for the unhoused in articles for outlets like The Washington Post and The Times. She was 57.

I spoke with the action-movie icon and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, author of the new book “Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life,” about show business and politics.

The right often uses Hollywood as a punching bag: “It’s all wokeism; it’s not friendly to conservatives.” What do you think of that criticism?

Well, it’s true, but so what?

What part is true?

The wokeism and that they’re trying to be goody-goody. Let’s not fool ourselves. They talk about the environment and all that stuff, look at which studio has solar panels on top of the rooftops. None of them. But the bottom line is, Hollywood at least is out there talking about the right issues: women’s rights and equal rights. This is all good.

You grew up in Austria after World War II. You had exposure to people who believed in fascism. So when you hear people say Donald Trump is a burgeoning fascist or the Republican Party is authoritarian, does that sound alarmist to you, or do you think there’s truth to it?

I cannot tell you if Trump is prejudiced. I think that he made moves and said things that sound like it, but I don’t know what’s in his heart. We need a leader who has the energy to bring people together, who sells that idea and who is convincing enough to bring people together because they want to work together.

Do you see anyone out there with the potential to be that unifying figure?

No. Someone has to come forward and talk about rebuilding the country in a great way and about the things that are really important rather than, “Should we have a bathroom for trans people?” All the little battles just hold us up.

Read more of the interview here.

20th century: In two books, read about the Black and white Southerners who changed the North.

Our editors’ picks: “The Pole,” about a concert pianist who falls for a married arts patron, and eight other books.

Times best sellers: Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe’s “Astor” is one of seven new books on the hardcover nonfiction list.

Buy souvenir toothpaste.

Put your phone on a car mount.

Get a convertible car seat.

  • Jimmy Carter turns 99 today.

  • The trial begins tomorrow in the New York lawsuit accusing the Trump Organization of inflating property values.

  • The Supreme Court’s new term starts tomorrow.

  • The Major League Baseball playoffs begin Tuesday.

  • Hunter Biden will appear in court Wednesday, where he is expected to plead not guilty to gun charges.

  • This year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner will be announced Friday. Other Nobel winners will also be announced throughout the week.


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