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Rep. Mike Quigley says lack of aid for Ukraine led him to vote no on bill to keep government open

Rep. Quigley defends no vote on stopgap funding bill over lack of Ukraine aid
Rep. Quigley defends no vote on stopgap funding bill over lack of Ukraine aid 09:10

WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) -- U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) said Tuesday that he voted against a bill to extend government funding for 45 days because it amounted to a "victory for Putin and Putin sympathizers."

Quigley was the only Democrat to vote against the bill this past weekend. He spoke to CBS 2 Streaming Anchor Brad Edwards hours before House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted from his leadership position over his reliance on Democrats to pass the funding bill to avert a government shutdown.

Quigley noted that there had been a "really important" vote on Thursday on funding Ukraine – and while every Democrat voted yes, it lost on the Republican side. Thus, the continuing resolution to keep the government open passed without the funding for Ukraine included.

"This would have passed with the Ukrainian money in it – and now, I'm afraid we might have lost our last best chance to get that done – which is a horrifying message to our allies and our adversaries. It's very clear that Beijing has been watching this as well as Putin, with their eyes on Taiwan," Quigley said. "So I just tell my friends and constituents – Ukraine is in our interests. Putin's eyes are not just on Ukraine. It's on Moldova, the Baltics, Poland. It's recreating the Soviet Union. He has the ability to last as long as he wants. We have to meet him – and we made a mistake Saturday."

The Senate approved the bill to keep the government open about three hours before the midnight deadline late Saturday in an 88-9 vote. No Democratic senators voted against the measure, with all nine no votes from Republicans. 

The House then passed the bill by a 335-91 margin Saturday afternoon, after Speaker McCarthy announced in the morning that he would try to push the short-term funding bill through the House with Democratic help.

The bill ultimately won support from more Democrats than Republicans in the House, with 90 Republicans voting no.

Following the passage of the bill, President Joe Biden also called on Congress to approve continued funding for Ukraine.

"We cannot under any circumstance allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted," Mr. Biden said Sunday. "Stop the games. Get to work." 

Then, hours after Quigley's interview with Edwards Tuesday, McCarthy was ousted as speaker over the funding bill. It marked first time a House speaker has been removed in a no-confidence vote.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) – who led the rebellion against McCarthy – accused him of making a "secret side deal" with President Biden on Ukraine aid to get the short-term funding bill passed hours before the government was set to shut down. McCarthy denied having made any deal in exchange for Democratic votes.

"The one thing that the White House, House Democrats and many of us on the conservative side of the Republican caucus would argue is the thing we have in common — Kevin McCarthy said something to all of us at one point or another that he didn't really mean and never intended to live up to," Gaetz said on the House floor Tuesday.

The final vote for McCarthy's ouster was 216-210, with eight Republicans joining all the Democrats to vote to remove McCarthy. 

Rep. Patrick McHenry, a top McCarthy ally and chair of the Financial Services Committee, then announced himself as the speaker pro tempore. 

The Speaker of the House is not only the leader of the chamber but also second in line for the presidency. Ousting a sitting speaker by vote in the middle of a congressional term would be unprecedented in American history, and McCarthy's allies have warned that doing so would set a precedent that would hang over every speaker moving forward. That argument has not persuaded Democrats to come to McCarthy's rescue.

Democratic leadership members had urged their caucus to vote "yes" on the motion to vacate. 

Quigley said as Democrats are concerned, McCarthy has failed to keep promises and commitments that he has made.

Quigley said in June, an agreement was reached to reach the debt ceiling, a deal was made to avert a government shutdown crisis. He said McCarthy reneged on the deal under pressure from the far right.

But he said the move to oust McCarthy is fueled by resentment from Gaetz – and it is making governing "very difficult."

"This is an age-old feud between those two," Quigley said. "He's just trying to settle scores. It's about his ego."

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