U.S. government passes bill to avoid shutdown

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The federal government is expected to avoid a shutdown – at least for now. The Senate approved a temporary solution after the House voted “yes” on the bill earlier Saturday.

Millions of Americans can breathe a sigh of relief as soon as President Biden signs the bill that he’s expected to.

A shutdown would hurt federal workers everywhere, including in New Mexico.

New Mexico’s congressional delegation agreed it was frustrating and scary week not knowing what was going to happen. 

But, they all said they wanted to do what was best for their constituents, even if that meant holding out for a better solution.

“It’s a huge victory for the American people, for New Mexico, which would have been one of the most impacted states in the country by shutdown,” said New Mexico Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury. 

Stansbury says the shutdown would’ve been devastating to New Mexico. 

“We have over 30,000 federal employees and active duty military in New Mexico, and we know that a shutdown would have been very catastrophic for our communities. Especially those who are living paycheck to paycheck,” said Stansbury. 

The state’s three military bases and two national labs would have been effected. 

According to the White House, almost 500 New Mexican TSA and Air Traffic Controllers would’ve been forced to work without pay.

Congresswoman Teresa Ledger Fernandez says the week was filled with frustration aimed across the aisle.

“There was a lot of uncertainty, and what we know is that Democrats were steadfast that we were not going to allow a bill, a continuing resolution like they gave us yesterday,” said Ledger Fernández. 

All three New Mexico representatives say Saturday was much more productive. Especially, after House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries addressed the House. 

“We went from devastating cuts that would have impacted the health, safety and economic well-being of the American people in 24 hours to a spending agreement that meets the needs of the American people across the board,” said Jeffries. 

Speaker of the House California Republican Kevin McCarthy said he did what he had to, to get a bill passed.

“Winston Churchill once said this about America, ‘You can always count on Americans to do what’s right after they’ve exhausted every other option.’ It is very clear that I tried every possible way, listened to every single person in the conference,” said McCarthy. 

The House passed a bipartisan 45-day bill to avoid a government shutdown. The bill includes natural disaster aid like the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak’s Fire.

The New Mexican delegation says they saw a real lack of leadership. But, in the end, the House did what it needed to.

“Today at the last second, and it was a surprise, you know, Republicans came forward with a sensible resolution that kept the government open for 45 days,” said Rep. Gabe Vasquez. 

All five of our congress delegation voted for that measure after the bill passed Sen. Ben Ray Lujan sent out a statement saying he voted to keep the government open and avoid what he called a GOP shutdown. 

Also, saying the Senate has worked on a bipartisan basis from the start. 

Notably, the bill did not include additional funding for Ukraine. 

Lujan said he supports more critical aid to Ukraine.

Sen. Martin Heinrich said in a statement:

“Keeping the government open today with responsible spending levels is a victory for the American people. It’s also important to understand that this was a monumental defeat for Speaker McCarthy and the most extreme elements in the House.  

“But our job is not done. Now we must return to crafting responsible bipartisan government funding bills and redouble our efforts to pass a more robust support package for our allies in Ukraine.”

U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján sent the following statement:

“I just voted to keep the government open and avoid a GOP shutdown. This protects federal employees in New Mexico and across the country. But make no mistake – this was a manufactured crisis from House Republicans who did not keep their word to the American people. The Senate worked on a bipartisan basis from day one to avoid a shutdown, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to deliver long term funding that provides certainty to the American people. I remain committed that Congress must provide critical aid to Ukraine to make it clear that the United States stands for the people of Ukraine over Putin’s acts of aggression.” 

This bill is a temporary measure. Congress now has until mid-November to avoid another shutdown.