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Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans get unexpected win in race to avoid shutdown

(Getty Images)

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Republicans gained an unexpected win on Friday as they race to avoid a government shutdown by midnight on Sunday.

The House voted to advance a rule to begin debate on a stopgap spending bill. The bill would keep the government open for 30 days as the House continues to try and pass individual spending bills.

All 218 Republicans present voted for the bill, including perpetual critics of Mr McCarthy such as Reps Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Eli Crane (R-AZ) and Chip Roy (R-TX). Those hardline conservatives have argued that the House should pass one large spending bill but rather individual spending bills.

The vote was not for the actual stopgap spending bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), but rather simply to begin debating the bill. But Mr Norman noted that continuing resolution had additional funding to increase enforcement on immigration and a spending limit.

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“Now, the alternative is to let them give the purse strings to the Senate,” Mr Norman told reporters on the House steps after the vote, adding that the bill is only to keep the government open for 30 days as negotiations continue.

Conservative Republicans have frequently criticised continuing resolutions as a means of maintaining the status quo and many Republicans only support the bill because it included provisions they wanted. But the bill has little chance of passing the Senate as it includes many provisions Democrats who control the upper chamber and some Republicans find objectionable.

But Mr Norman seemed unbothered about the unlikelihood of the Senate supporting the bill.

“The only thing that would pass the Senate would be unlimited spending to bureaucrats who do not care about the financial health of this country,” he told The Independent. “So nothing we send the Senate, they're going to come back.”

The vote came after the House stayed late into the night on Thursday and passed spending bills to fund the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as a bill to fund foreign operations and the State Department.

But a bill to fund the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration failed as many Republicans joined Democrats to oppose the bill that would also prohibit the mailing of abortion drugs.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy accused Republicans who oppose the continuing resolution of standing with the Biden administration’s immigration policy.

But Rep Cory Mills (R-FL) said had serious reservations and as of Friday after the vote on the rule that he still had reservations.

“I'm setting, like I'm trying to figure out how do we get this to where it's achieving all overarching goals,” he said. “This isn’t a casual CR and the way that we're looking at it, but the issue is that still misses the point where we're trying to be at so for right now, if I had to just immediately go in, I’m a ‘no.’”