Republicans force US to drop Ukraine aid at threat of government shutdown


“I fully expect the Speaker will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment,” he added, referring to McCarthy.

Earlier Biden accused House Republicans of an “absolute dereliction of duty” as the US government braced for its fourth partial shutdown in a decade.

A shutdown would have left hundreds of thousands of federal employees without the funding to do their jobs.

Federal agencies had already drawn up detailed contingency plans to allow critical services like airport screening and border patrols to continue.

But all others, from scientific research to food aid to 7 million disadvantaged mothers, would have been required to halt.

Most of the government’s 4 million workers would not get paid.

The stand-off came just months after Congress brought the government to the brink of defaulting on its $US31.4 trillion ($48.85 trillion) debt.

The US government faced a shutdown until Congress managed to overcome the impasse just hours before the deadline.Credit: AP

McCarthy has struggled to rally his party behind a spending bill due to his narrow 221-212 majority in the chamber.

He has faced the strongest dissent from hardliners, who joined with Democrats on Friday to block a Republican spending proposal littered with conservative policy additions to demonstrate their bargaining power.

But the move also left moderate Republicans – who had reluctantly supported deep cuts to popular social programmes – furious with McCarthy after it failed to advance.

The measures were stripped from the bill put forward on Saturday (Sunday AEST), which would extend funding for 45 days.

“I want to keep government open while we finish our job,” McCarthy said before the vote.

But the failed manoeuvres have exposed McCarthy’s vulnerabilities as he struggles to lead his fractious membership.

Some hardline Republicans said a shutdown was worth it to achieve their goals, including sweeping cuts to government departments and slashing aid to Ukraine, while increasing funding for US border security.


Bob Good, a conservative congressman, said: “If we don’t have the willingness to say ‘no’ and the resolve to say ‘no’, the Senate and the White House will not accept any spending cuts.”

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The Telegraph, London

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