Montana Delegation Split on Short-term Funding Vote to Avoid Federal Shutdown

The bill provides about a week of funding while longer-term negotiations continue

By Arren Kimbel-Sannit, Montana Free Press

President Joe Biden on Friday signed a stopgap funding measure to keep the federal government open while lawmakers debate a series of appropriations bills. The measure, which passed Congress on Thursday, split Montana’s federal delegation.

The bill buys about a week of operational time for some federal agencies and two weeks for others.

Montana’s Matt Rosendale is among the 97 Republican representatives who voted against the continuing budget resolution, which otherwise carried the support of a bipartisan bloc of 320 members, among them Rosendale’s fellow Montana Republican Ryan Zinke. 

“I’ve been telling you for quite some time now that Congress is completely broken,” Rosendale said in a video posted to X after the vote. “Here we are after only two short days of work in Washington, D.C., Congress passed another CR to fund the government for another six days because they haven’t been able to pass the 12 appropriation bills to fund the government transparently and responsibly.” 

Rosendale and many of his colleagues on the GOP conference’s right flank have consistently opposed temporary government funding measures, insisting that Congress must pass a full suite of budget measures in normal order — something that it’s rarely able to do before the start of a new fiscal year. He’s also said that Congress should not fund the government if the government doesn’t “shut down” the southern border. 

Congressional leaders have reached deals on some of the full appropriations bills. Passage of the continuing resolution allows negotiations on the others to continue.

“A 7-day extension prevents a pointless government shutdown and makes it possible to pass individual appropriations bills that have a lot of great Montana funding and policy priorities included,” Zinke spokesperson Heather Swift told Capitolized. “As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Congressman Zinke had a leading role in shaping the Transportation and Interior appropriations bills and has more than $30 million in dedicated project funding for Montana teed up for approval next week.”

She added that according to House rules — which “every Republican in the House voted for” — members must have 72 hours to review a bill prior to a vote, further justifying the extension granted by the continuing resolution.

The Democratic-controlled Senate passed the measure later on Thursday. Democratic Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester voted in favor of the bill while his Republican counterpart Steve Daines was one of 10 senators who did not vote either way. The measure passed the upper chamber 77-13.

This story originally appeared in the Montana Free Press, which can be found online at montanafreepress.org.