Congress races to pass spending bill as partial shutdown looms

 The House of Representatives approved a spending package that will fund the US government through September.

This is the first step in the race by lawmakers in the US Congress to beat the midnight deadline that will lead to a partial shutdown of the US government.

The final vote was 286 votes to 134, much higher than the two-thirds majority required. All but 23 Democrats supported the legislation, while 112 Republicans voted against it.

The package will now move to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it is expected to gain enough support to pass by Friday night.

The $1.2 trillion (£951 billion) legislation was the result of bipartisan negotiations and funds a wide range of federal services through October, including a 3% increase in US defense funding.

The vote was another example of the difficulty the narrow Republican majority in the House of Representatives has faced in approving new spending legislation since it took control of the chamber last year.

A small but vocal group of conservatives has opposed the proposed increases in government spending and called for new legislation that includes changes to US immigration laws aimed at addressing the surge in illegal immigrants at the southern US border.

“No House Republican in good conscience could vote for this bill,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia said during Friday debate on the House package.

“It is a complete departure from all our principles.”

Why do lockdowns only seem to happen in the US?

A crucial shutdown test for House Speaker Mike Johnson

Greene has since introduced a motion to force the election of a new Speaker of the House and replace Mike Johnson of Louisiana.

Hardline Republicans used the same tactic last year to fire former President Kevin McCarthy over another budget dispute. The move plunged Congress into chaos for weeks as Republicans searched for a new leader to lead the House.

The Georgia congresswoman took the first procedural step to carry out her threat to oust the replacement Republicans finally got: Mr. Johnson.

Ms Green described the motion as a "red flag and a pink slip" while speaking to reporters on Friday, because it allowed the vote to be postponed until next month. He added that he respects the council and does not wish to "cause chaos in the council."

But his latest tactic could lead to another bitter battle for the GOP leadership in the House of Representatives just months before the US election in November.

Meanwhile, the House's budget vote on Friday continues a trend of recent battles over government funding, with Democrats joining some Republicans to pass legislation to avert a shutdown.

However, unlike recent votes, a majority of House Republicans opposed the funding bill negotiated by their party.

If the Senate does not approve the legislation, operational funding for some parts of the U.S. government will cease, although the full impact will not be felt until the new work week begins on Monday.

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