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House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-LA, gives a press conference in the Capitol on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, after leading a vote to avoid a government shutdown.

IMAGO/MediaPunch via Reuters Connect

Shutdown averted, but deal contains no aid for Ukraine

New Speaker Mike Johnson managed to wrangle enough votes to avoid a government shutdown late Tuesday, relying on 209 Democrats and 127 Republicans to pass a bill to allow the US government to keep functioning into 2024. The Senate approved the measure on Wednesday, sending it to President Joe Biden for his signature. Had the House not acted, the government would have run out of money at midnight on Friday.

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Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-LA., returns to his office in the US Capitol on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023.

Mike Johnson has a plan to avert the shutdown – will it work?

Is it better to kick two cans down the road rather than one? House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is about to find out in the first big test of his speakership. With another government shutdown deadline looming on Friday, the House plans to vote today on Johnson’s plan to keep the US government from plunging over the fiscal cliff – again.

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A collage showing the US Capitol, former US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz.

GZERO Media/ Jess Frampton

Washington chaos rings alarm bells in Ukraine and Europe

You’ve heard the news. Rebel Republicans and unsympathetic Democrats ousted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his job yesterday. That post is now officially “vacant.” For now, Patrick McHenry (R-NC) holds the post of Speaker Pro Tempore to ensure there’s someone there to keep the lights on and the process moving toward the election of a new speaker.

Americans (and the world) are now trying to figure out what it all means. But keep in mind, this has never happened before. The only previous attempt to fire a speaker of the US House of Representatives failed, and that was 113 years ago. The cliché “uncharted waters” fits perfectly here.

But … you’ve got questions, lots of questions, and I’m here to give you the best available answers.

We just survived a shutdown threat last weekend. Should we expect more of these congressional showdowns?

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Ukrainian and EU flags fly in central Kyiv as the city hosts an EU-Ukraine foreign ministers meeting, amid Russia's ongoing attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine October 2, 2023.

REUTERS/Thomas Peter

The fight over support for Ukraine

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine settles into a war of attrition, ongoing Western support will remain critical for Kyiv.
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The U.S. Capitol.

Reuters

The US government is heading toward a shutdown. What does that mean?

The US government looks set to shut down this Sunday after House Republicans indicated that they would not support a bipartisan Senate bill that would fund the federal government past this weekend’s deadline.

Absent a last-minute agreement, many federal agencies could soon shut down, while millions of federal workers could be placed on furlough without pay due to a lapse in funding from Congress, which controls the purse strings.

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

Reuters

Will McCarthy stop a government shutdown?

Late Tuesday, the US Senate agreed to a bipartisan temporary funding plan in a bid to avoid a government shutdown on Sunday. The agreement would guarantee Ukraine funding by tying it to domestic disaster relief – a cause even Ukraine-wary Senate Republicans were reluctant to vote against.

Trouble is, it is unlikely to pass in the House. Speaker Kevin McCarthy would need to rely on Democratic votes for it to pass, risking a party backlash, and far-right Republicans are threatening to push for his removal if he brings it to the floor.

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