NC’s McHenry joins Democratic members to help pass time-sensitive bill
WASHINGTON — U.S. House members, mostly along party lines, cleared a spending package Friday that would bolster funding for natural disaster response, though with Hurricane Ian still battering the Southeast, lawmakers will likely need to approve another aid bill later this year.
The measure would provide $2.5 billion in assistance for the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire that destroyed parts of New Mexico this spring, $2 billion in Community Development Block Grant disaster relief funding for states affected by natural disasters during 2021 and 2022 and $1 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
The package would keep the federal government up and running through Dec. 16, giving congressional leaders and the White House more time to work out how much to spend on discretionary programs and to draft bipartisan versions of the dozen annual government funding bills.
The bill, approved 230-201, now heads to President Joe Biden for his signature. He needs to sign the measure before midnight, when the current government spending law expires ahead of the start of the new fiscal year Oct. 1.
Six North Carolina representatives — all five Democrats, plus Republican Patrick McHenry, voted ‘yes.” The other seven republicans all voted ‘no.’
If the stopgap spending bill hadn’t cleared Congress, the federal government would have begun a partial government shutdown early Saturday.
The measure also includes $12 billion to help Ukraine continue to defend itself following Russia’s invasion in February.
The U.S. Senate approved the bill following a 72-25 vote Thursday, with all opposition coming from Republicans.
Republicans blast December deadline
GOP lawmakers in the U.S. House spoke out against the package Friday, arguing that setting up a government funding deadline during the lame-duck session following the midterm elections wasn’t the right decision. Read more