US House of Representatives votes for 45-day funding bill in 11th-hour scramble to avoid government shutdown

The US House of Representatives has passed a stopgap funding bill on Saturday to avoid a government shutdown.

The last-minute scramble to approve spending passes to the Democratic-majority Senate, and if voted through President Joe Biden can sign it into law before the 12.01am (5.01am BST) deadline on Sunday.

It comes as America stands hours away from its government grinding to a halt as Congress has yet to sign off funding to keep its national agencies and services running.

The House voted 335-91 to fund the government for another 45 days, enough to last through mid-November – but not providing additional funds to help Ukraine fight off a Russian invasion.

The move marked a profound shift from earlier in the week, when a shutdown looked all but inevitable.

A shutdown would mean that most of the government’s 4 million employees would not get paid. It could also mean museums, national parks, research facilities and health centres with national government funding suspend operations.

The stopgap funding bill received overwhelming Democratic support after Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy backed down from an earlier demand by party hardliners for a partisan bill.

Mr McCarthy abandoned party hardliners’ earlier insistence that any bill pass the chamber with only Republican votes, a change that could cause one of his far-right members to try to oust him from his leadership role.

Some 209 Democrats supported the bill, far more than the 126 Republicans who did so, and Democrats described the result as a win.

“Extreme MAGA Republicans have lost, the American people have won,” top House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries said

Democratic Representative Don Beyer said: “I am relieved that Speaker McCarthy folded and finally allowed a bipartisan vote at the eleventh hour on legislation to stop Republicans’ rush to a disastrous shutdown.”

Mr McCarthy dismissed concerns that hardline Republicans could try to oust him as leader.

“I want to be the adult in the room, go ahead and try,” Mr McCarthy said. “And you know what? If I have to risk my job for standing up for the American public, I will do that.”

Additional reporting by Reuters