by Scott Dreyer
The federal government’s fiscal year ended September 30, and in what has become a frequent occurrence, the Congress had failed to present a budget for the president’s signature.
In the weeks and days before September 30, many politicians, pundits, and average citizens were debating what would happen and what would be best for the country.
The overall Democrat position was that spending should continue at current levels, including funding for Ukraine’s war against Russia. The thought of a government shutdown was portrayed as a potential disaster that would cut stop salary and relief payments to deserving Americans.
This position is seen in tweets on X, formerly known as Twitter, by Virginia’s two US senators. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) on Sept. 27 wrote: “Extreme House Republicans have no plan to stop a shutdown, forcing millions of servicemembers & federal workers to go without pay. Shutdowns have a terrible human cost. We have to prevent this.”
On September 29, Virginia’s Junior Senator Tim Kaine (D) tweeted: “House Republicans threatening a government shutdown—which would hurt Virginians’ access to basic services they rely on every day—as a form of leverage is cruel and irresponsible. We can and should come together in a bipartisan way to avert a catastrophic shutdown.”
This position usually makes no mention of the fact that the US government already has a $33 TRILLION debt, a number recorded on usdebtclock.org .
A differing opinion was found among a number of Republicans in the House of Representatives. That mindset focused on tackling the unsustainable debt, the huge interest payments on it, and the linkage that no further US money be sent to defend Ukraine’s border while the Southern US border is open to illegal aliens entering.
Simply put, the end of the fiscal year is one of Congress’ few “leverage points” to demand the Executive Branch secure the southern border and make some budgetary cuts.
Those espousing that position seldom highlighted the suffering those who rely on government checks would experience if those payments were delayed. Since Northern Virginia is next to DC with many federal employees and Tidewater has a large military presence, many claim a shutdown would hurt Virginia more than most other states.
On the afternoon of Saturday, September 30, with only about ten hours to go before a shutdown, the House voted 335-91 to pass a so-called “Continuing Resolution (CR).”
In recent years, Congress has passed many CRs. These essentially keep the federal government functioning, at full spending levels, without any agreed-to budget.
Notably, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) got the CR approved with more Democrat votes than Republican. Specifically, 209 Democrats voted for it, with only one opposed, because this CR contained no new funds for the Ukraine War.
In contrast, only 126 Republicans voted for it.
This led some to wonder, “Who is the real Speaker of the House? Republican McCarthy or Democrat Hakeem Jeffries?”
Ninety Republicans voted against the CR, including the three Congressmen representing Central and Southwest Virginia. They are Reps. Ben Cline (6th District), Morgan Griffith (9th), and Bob Good (5th).
Their no votes put them not only at odds with their party leader McCarthy but also the other eight House members representing other parts of the Virginia: six Democrats and two other Republicans.
Explaining his no vote, Cline posted this to X on Sept. 30: “Continuing the bloated Pelosi spending levels and the chaos of Biden’s open border is unacceptable. I will be voting NO on the 45-day clean CR today.”
On Sept. 29 Rep. Good tweeted: “The September 30 deadline happens every year. This isn’t a surprise. At least the House has passed four individual spending bills to fund our veterans, military, homeland security, and State Department. The Democrat Senate has done nothing.”
On Sept. 30, following the vote, Good posted: “Kevin McCarthy put a CR on the Floor that got 209 Democrat votes, since it kept in place the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer policies that are destroying the country and the spending levels that are bankrupting us. Sadly, it also got 126 Republican votes. Uni-Party rule.”
The CR funds the federal government for another 45 days. Cynics point out this postpones the issue till mid-November, right before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, when most people are distracted with other matters.
The votes by representative and state can be seen here.
Republished with permission from The Roanoke Star.