House Republicans passed a Defense Department funding bill for fiscal year 2024 late Thursday night, a victory for GOP leaders after they decided to remove Ukraine funding from the bill following two failed procedural votes.
The chamber approved the measure by a vote of 218-210.
Approval of the measure will not help Congress avert a shutdown before the Sept. 30 government funding deadline, but House Republican leaders are confident that passage of the bill and other year-round funding measures will help convince conservatives to do so to join in with short-term financing as a stopgap.
The Pentagon spending bill — which represents the largest of the 12 full-year budget measures — sparked consternation from Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and its passage marks another victory for the speaker.
The Conservatives defeated two procedural votes last week to advance the legislation. Some hardliners pushed for deeper spending cuts and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) expressed opposition to funding for Ukraine.
To shore up support for the bill, McCarthy told reporters last week that he would remove the $300 million in aid to Ukraine from the Pentagon bill and hold a separate vote on the money. But a day later he changed his stance after admitting that a bill to fund the State Department included aid to Ukraine.
McCarthy said it would be “too difficult” to remove the support from the State Department bill, so he decided to keep it in both measures. The House ultimately advanced both bills and two other spending measures in a largely party-line vote, with Greene the only Republican lawmaker to oppose the procedural vote.
The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected an amendment to remove the $300 million from the bill, rejecting the measure by a vote of 330-104.
But late Wednesday night, the House Rules Committee called a last-minute meeting, concerned that the Pentagon bill might not garner enough support for passage, and decided to remove the $300 million from the bill . The House of Representatives introduced the separate funding bill for Ukraine on Thursday.
House Republicans proposed more than $820 billion in new funding for defense operations in the Pentagon budget bill. That includes what negotiators touted earlier this year as a historic “investment in financing security cooperation for Taiwan,” pay raises for military personnel and increases for the National Guard’s counternarcotics program.
The bill also includes a number of items that Democrats have called divisive and that they said could harm recruiting, such as measures aimed at efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, and others The party’s view would potentially be harmful to members of the LGBTQ community.
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