Tennessee, Alabama Republican senators split over vote on federal stopgap funding measure

Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., speaks to reporters Oct. 18 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)
Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., speaks to reporters Oct. 18 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

NASHVILLE — Tennessee and Alabama Republican U.S. senators split a vote on a temporary funding measure aimed at keeping the federal government running and avoiding a shutdown until early January as the Democratic-run Senate and GOP-led House continue to wrangle over their differences.

Sens. Bill Hagerty, R-Tennessee, and Katie Britt, R-Alabama, who both serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee, voted for the measure that passed on a 87-11 vote Wednesday.

Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, and Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, voted no.

Georgia Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff voted for the bill.

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The measure was fashioned by new House Republican Speaker Mike Johnson, of Louisiana, to provide additional time to try to resolve differences in the House as well as with Senate Democrats.

"Sen. Hagerty voted in favor of the continuing resolution last night because this proposal finally broke Washington's longtime all-or-nothing, end-of-year spending spree," a Hagerty spokesperson said Thursday in a statement. "Instead, this CR decoupled the deadlines for spending bills and gives Republicans more leverage to start addressing the real problems Americans are facing, from inflation to the border crisis to the senseless surrender of American energy independence.

"Sen. Hagerty looks forward to focusing now on driving each of these bills into a more conservative direction to meet the needs of the American people," the spokesperson added.

Warnock praised the Senate's passage of the measure on social media.

"Proud to help pass bipartisan legislation that will keep our government open & funded without cutting vital programs Georgians rely on," Warnock wrote. "Now we need to get busy passing legislation to help our allies overseas & address critical emergencies here at home."

Hagerty was named to the Appropriations Committee in 2021 following his 2020 election.

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Weeks into his new job as House speaker, Johnson proposed a two-step stopgap funding bill to avert a shutdown as the holiday season approaches. It avoids a partial government shutdown through extending funding for a number of agencies and programs until Jan. 19. Funding for others continues until Feb. 2.

That's a departure from the norm of lawmakers extending funding for all programs through a stopgap measure. The Washington Post reported Johnson adopted an idea by Rep. Andy Harris, R-Maryland, a House Freedom Caucus member. Johnson, according to the paper, decided to go with the combination approach, addressing concerns from GOP lawmakers seeking to avoid being presented with a massive spending bill just before the holidays.

Contact Andy Sher at [email protected] or 615-285-9480.

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