Congress Averts Government Shutdown: Passes 10-Week Funding Extension
October 1, 2015 11:10 AM
On Wednesday, September 30, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed, and President Barack Obama signed into law, legislation known as a continuing resolution to extend current government funding levels through December 11, 2015. Without this action, the government would have shut down due to lack of funding on October 1.
“With today’s bipartisan vote, Congress has taken a step away from the brink,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. “But the American people deserve far better than last-minute, short-term legislating.”
The outcome followed weeks of uncertainty regarding the ability of Congress to avert a government shutdown. Many conservative lawmakers, most notably Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and members of the House Freedom Caucus, sought a shutdown unless Congress stripped funding for Planned Parenthood. In the end, enough Republicans joined Democrats in order to pass the funding legislation and keep the government running.
The leadership of Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) may have been essential in securing the requisite votes for passage. On Friday, September 25, Speaker Boehner announced that he would resign from the House at the end of October. Speaker Boehner was under pressure by Congressional Republicans who planned to offer a motion to vacate the chair, which would have stripped him of his gavel. To end what many commentators have called blackmail, Speaker Boehner resigned which allowed him to support the continuing resolution. Many have referred to his resignation as a profile in courage, protecting both his party and the American people.
Speaker Boehner earlier this year joined House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to negotiate legislation to reform the physician payment formula known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (see previous NAHC Report article here).
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the most likely candidate to succeed Speaker Boehner following his resignation at the end of October. Congress will face yet another potential government shutdown on December 11, and funding for Planned Parenthood could remain a point of contention as that date approaches.