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House Democrats frustrated by short-term bills to fund government

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Democratic U.S. House members have voiced frustrations with passing short-term funding bills after Congress last week again pushed through legislation that quelled fears of a partial government coming to fruition.

Congress on Thursday sent the stopgap funding bill to President Joe Biden, who signed it on Friday. The Republican-led House approved it on a 314-108 vote, much of the support coming from Democrats as Republicans were split. The measure, which funds federal agencies until March, easily passed the Senate, which is led by Democrats.

Rep. Glenn Ivey, D-Md. called the trend of passing continuing resolutions every couple of months is “dysfunctional and irrational.”

“This isn’t something that used to be that complicated,” he told theGrio.

U.S. Capitol,
The U.S. Capitol Building is seen on Jan. 19, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“Issues may pop up here and there but, we weren’t creating scenarios where retirees or people who received government benefits or rely on government services had to worry about whether there would be some kind of discontinuation, break or delay,” in getting paid or receiving benefits, he added.

Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio, told theGrio that passing so many short-term funding bills “sends a message that the Republican majority is incapable of governing.”

“When it comes to governing and keeping the government from shutting down, that is the most basic responsibility that we have,” she said.

“Hopefully people do recognize that the Democrats are the ones stepping up to make sure that these bills pass,” Brown added. “Republicans are simply creating chaos and confusion and uncertainty for people’s lives.”  

Biden signed the short-term government bill into law on Friday, funding some federal government agencies until March 1 and the remaining programs until March 8.

This is the third continuing resolution that the federal government has passed since September, leaving Americans who depend on the federal government for their salaries or benefits unsure of what the long-term future holds.

U.S. President Joe Biden,
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Montgomery County Community College January 5, 2024 in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“With the House Republicans in this Congress, it’s become kind of a Groundhog Day scenario,” Ivey said.

“It’s disappointing. At least we didn’t actually shut down the government, so I’ll give House Speaker Mike Johnson credit for that but, they need to figure out what they’re going to do over there,” he added.

The House passed the continuing resolution with 107 Republicans and 207 Democrats. Meanwhile, 106 House Republicans voted against the measure.

The vote for House Republicans was “almost an exact split down the middle” and then there were House Republicans “who expressly called for the government to shut down, Ivey said.

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“I can’t figure it out. We should be able to keep the government open and pay our debts…House Democrats have had to rescue House Republicans from blowing it,” he added.

Brown told theGrio that if the government does not reach agreement to fund the government past March, a shutdown would be catastrophic particularly for constituents who rely on Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, better known as WIC, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP.

U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio,
Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH) speaks during a press conference on new legislation to support Holocaust education nationwide at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 27, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“A prolonged shutdown could impact the most vulnerable people and increase food insecurity and financial hardship for some,” she said.

Ivey told theGrio that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers would also be impacted and see payment delays, perhaps depending on what their role is in the agency, they may not get paid at all.”

“Many of them live paycheck to paycheck just like everybody else. So, you’re really putting them in a bad situation,” he said.

“Retirees and veterans are worried about what kind of services they’ll be able to continue to get,” he continued. “As for government contractors, I don’t think there’s any provision in place for them to get compensated.”

Brown told theGrio that it’s important that Americans “understand how dangerous, divisive and destructive the Republicans are with their antics.”

She stated, that House Republicans really want to “advance their own personal agendas over people.”

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