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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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Up up and away: Will skiers see more or less snow at Whistler this year?

Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH via Reuters

Hard Numbers: El Niño messes with snow, US shutdown looms again, Toronto developers pause condos, climate report calls out Canada

25: It’s an El Niño year again – meaning warmer Pacific waters will affect global weather patterns. For Western Canada, that means it’s likely to get 25cm less snow than average this winter, while Northern Quebec and Labrador generally could get 25cm more. In the US, southern states will likely see above-average snow accumulation this winter as well.
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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters in the US Capitol after the House of Representatives passed a stopgap government funding bill to avert an immediate government shutdown.

REUTERS/ Ken Cedeno

Will avoiding a shutdown cost McCarthy the speakership?

There was no shortage of drama on Capitol Hill this weekend – including a pulled fire alarm that delayed voting by an hour – as the US government managed to avoid another shutdown. Congress passed a stopgap funding bill on Saturday that will keep the lights on through Nov. 17. The proposal easily cleared the House before garnering Senate approval 88 to 9. It included natural disaster aid but no new support for border restrictions or assistance for Ukraine.

The measure passed a day after Republican Rep. Andy Biggs and 20 others blocked a Republican stopgap bill replete with spending cuts, border controls, and curbs on immigration. Unable to fund the government with just conservative votes, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy changed gears, offering a bill that would satisfy Democrats. The absence of fresh support for Ukraine prompted Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet to briefly delay the vote, but bipartisan senators resolved the impasse by pledging to further fund aid to Ukraine "in the coming weeks." President Joe Biden made it clear that “We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted.”

McCarthy is expected to introduce a separate Ukraine aid bill when the House returns. But having worked with Democrats to get this measure passed could cost him his job. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican hardliner, said on Sunday that he plans to move for McCarthy’s ouster this week.

If Gaetz introduces a measure to remove McCarthy, the House will have 48 hours to vote on it.

But McCarthy remains defiant. “If somebody wants to make a motion against me, bring it," he said. "There has to be an adult in the room. I am going to govern with what’s best for this country.”

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