One hundred and seventy-three House Republicans on Wednesday voted to send the entire chamber home rather than conduct important business, including whether to fund the government, provide billions in aid to war-torn Ukraine, or ban oil imports from Russia.
House Democrats thwarted the GOP-led effort, as 34 Republicans joined the Democratic majority to defeat the motion to adjourn. The motion, which Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) requested, was defeated by a 255-173 vote margin.
The House is set to vote Wednesday on a set of critical legislation, including an omnibus bill that would fund the federal government before the current funding bill expires on Friday at midnight. If a new funding bill is not passed by then, the federal government would shut down.
The $1.5 trillion spending package includes $14 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, where more than 400 civilians have already died in the Russian invasion, according to the United Nations. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Russia had bombed a children's hospital in the city of Mariupol, on Ukraine's southern coast.
On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleaded with more than 280 members of Congress over a Zoom call for increased military and humanitarian aid for his country, the Washington Post reported.
Aside from the government funding bill, the House is also set to vote on legislation to ban imports of Russian oil to the United States. The oil import ban is an attempt to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin and try to deter him from continuing the invasion of Ukraine he ordered at the end of February.
"The United States is targeting the main artery of Russia's economy," President Joe Biden said on Tuesday in announcing his support for banning Russian oil imports. "That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at U.S. ports, and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin's war machine."
According to reports, House Republicans forced the motion to adjourn because they were angry that they didn't have time to read over the government funding bill before the House was set to vote on the legislation.
However, a group of far-right members of Congress was pressuring House GOP leadership to block any government funding deal that included Ukraine aid, saying a Ukraine aid bill should be voted on and debated separately. That effort failed, as the funding deal Congress is set to vote on is a compromise between congressional Democrats and Republicans, and includes the Ukrainian aid package.
This is not the first time House Republicans have tried to shut down the House to avoid having to take votes on bills they don't like. In fact, it's been a tactic far-right members of the House have used numerous times this Congress, irking other Republican members who feel it's a waste of time.
Last year, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) tried to adjourn the House multiple times in order to avoid voting on bills such as the Equality Act, which bans discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression, as well as the For the People Act — a Democratic bill that sought to bolster voting rights protections.
Reprinted with permission from American Independent