Washington, D.C. – October 3, 2023
In a unified effort, Washington state’s entire congressional delegation voted in favor of a crucial legislative move that temporarily extends federal government funding through mid-November. This decision, which was supported by all members of the delegation, ensures that the government remains operational despite the expiration of the 2023 fiscal year.
As the nation’s fiscal year came to a close on Saturday, President Joe Biden signed a stopgap measure known as a “clean continuing resolution.” This resolution effectively extends existing government funding for an additional 45 days, averting an imminent government shutdown.
The future remains uncertain, with questions lingering about the potential for political discord in the House of Representatives. Some conservative Republicans within the House remain at odds with Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and there are suggestions that some may seek his removal from office. The hope is that bipartisan majorities will emerge in both the House and Senate to pass their respective 12 appropriation bills by November 17, securing funding for the entire 2024 fiscal year.
Speaking about the last-minute proposal put forward by Speaker McCarthy, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee and hails from Washington state, emphasized the importance of avoiding “a senseless government shutdown, one that House Republicans have been pushing us toward for weeks.” The passage of the stopgap measure signifies a collective effort to maintain government operations without imposing new spending cuts or policy changes.
In the House of Representatives, the short-term funding bill received a solid majority vote, passing 335-91. It garnered support from 209 Democrats and 126 Republicans. Similarly, the Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure with an 88-9 vote, with only a small group of Republicans expressing opposition.
Shortly after the vote, members of Washington state’s congressional delegation shared their thoughts on social media. Democratic Representatives Suzan DelBene, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez all posted comments.
DelBene, representing the 1st District in northeast Puget Sound, emphasized the need for bipartisan cooperation over the next 45 days, urging House Republicans to collaborate with Democrats and the Senate to secure federal government funding for the entire fiscal year. She called for the abandonment of “extreme Republican policy riders” and the inclusion of funding to support Ukraine.
Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, who represents southwest Washington’s 3rd District, characterized the bill as a “temporary, imperfect solution” but stressed the fundamental importance of Congress funding the government as its basic responsibility in a functioning democracy. She expressed her support for the Problem Solvers Caucus bipartisan framework and introduced two bipartisan bills aimed at holding lawmakers accountable for the costs of a government shutdown.
Derek Kilmer, representing the 6th District in Gig Harbor, echoed sentiments about the bill’s imperfection but underscored its necessity. He expressed his intention to advocate for Congress to pass a bipartisan budget consistent with the agreement made by Democrats and Republicans in May, rejecting ongoing brinkmanship and chaos.
The recent tension within the Republican Party over funding levels and agreements negotiated with President Biden earlier this year has added complexity to the budgetary process. Some House Republicans voiced concerns about higher funding levels that Speaker McCarthy agreed to, while Democrats were disappointed that the agreed-upon levels were not upheld.
On Friday, the House rejected a proposal from Speaker McCarthy that sought to cut many domestic programs by 30%. This proposal was met with opposition from all Democrats and 21 hard-right Republicans, as Democrats argued it would be socially punitive and detrimental to the nation’s economy and credit rating.
With the passage of the new funding proposal on Saturday, Representative Pramila Jayapal noted, “We held the line against Republicans’ cruel, extreme, and unworkable agenda…and the government will remain open.”
Republican Representative Dan Newhouse, representing central Washington’s 4th District in Sunnyside, supported the short-term measure while advocating for the continued debate on appropriations bills in the House. He emphasized the importance of fiscal responsibility and the passing of appropriations bills as the best way to achieve it.
Washington state’s congressional delegation comprises mostly Democrats, with only two of the state’s 10 congressional House seats held by Republicans: Dan Newhouse and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane in eastern Washington’s 5th District. The delegation also includes U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell and Representatives Rick Larsen, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith, and Marilyn Strickland.
The lone House Democrat to oppose the stopgap bill was U.S. Representative Mike Quigley of Illinois, who cited the absence of funding for Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with the Russian invasion as his reason for objection.
While the Biden Administration, along with a majority of Democrats and Republicans, supports U.S. assistance to Ukraine, a smaller group of Republicans, including Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio and Representatives Chip Roy of Texas, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, and Matt Gaetz of Florida, opposes such aid without greater accountability on spending. They argue that funds should instead be directed toward securing the nation’s southern border.
Senator Patty Murray firmly defended assistance to Ukraine, stressing its importance in sending a strong message to dictators like Putin. She emphasized that it is in America’s national security interests to support Ukraine’s fight for sovereignty.
The passage of Saturday’s funding measure has averted a potential government shutdown and ensured the continuation of various federal programs and projects, benefiting federal workers, military personnel, and the nation at large.