The Lead

With shutdown looming, centrist lawmakers introduce temporary bipartisan spending deal

By: - September 25, 2023 2:28 pm

The U.S. Capitol. (Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom)

Amid the looming prospect of a government shutdown, U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat representing Maine’s 2nd District,  introduced Monday a bipartisan short-term spending bill dubbed the Bipartisan Keep America Open Act.

“The only way to avert a shutdown is to come to the table to negotiate a bipartisan agreement,” said Golden, who introduced the measure along with Democrat Rep. Ed Case (HI-01), as well as Republican Reps. Don Bacon (NE-02) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01). “Our bill keeps the government open, addresses the crisis at the border, maintains support for Ukraine, and stands with Americans as their communities recover from natural disasters. It is past time for both Republicans and Democrats to do what’s right for the country.”

The proposal would continue to fund the government at Fiscal Year 2023 levels until Jan. 11; provide $24 billion in funding for Ukraine with mandatory transparency requirements; and allocate $16 billion for federal disaster response.

The bipartisan deal also includes a proposal introduced earlier this year by Golden and Fitzpatrick, among others, that would grant the Biden administration the temporary authority to summarily expel someone seeking to migrate to the U.S. without proper documentation. Golden said this provision is needed to address “any influx of migrants at the southern border” after the end of the controversial public health order Title 42 earlier this year.

A framework for the bipartisan agreement was approved late last week by the 64 members of the centrist Problem Solvers Caucus. Last week, the GOP-led House of Representatives failed to pass a short-term spending plan as well as an $826 billion Defense spending bill.

If Congress is unable to agree to a short-term spending plan by the end of the month, an estimated 3.5 million federal employees across the country are likely to be furloughed or work without pay until an agreement is reached. In Maine, 12,000 federal workers would be impacted.

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Lauren McCauley
Lauren McCauley

Lauren McCauley is the editor of Maine Morning Star. She has covered politics and policy in Maine for more than 10 years and is the former editor of Maine Beacon.