A view of the United States Capitol building at dusk on Thursday, September 21, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Saturday, President Joe Biden signed a continuing resolution that would fund the government for another 45 days, averting a government shutdown just before 12:01 AM on Sunday morning. 

The MAGA flank of the Republican House Caucus had pushed House Speaker Kevin McCarthy toward a shutdown if the new budget did not include funding for Ukraine’s war against Russia and increased funding for disaster relief. 

“A government shutdown has been averted, said Ossoff in a statement. “The will of strong bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress overcame an extreme MAGA faction in the U.S. House who for weeks had pushed us senselessly toward a shutdown.”

Congress will now have until before a possible shutdown could commence once again.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz has successfully led an effort to oust McCarthy by a motion to vacate the speakership because he folded under pressure to fund the government. This was the first time such an occurrence has happened in American history. Moreover, this was the second such vote in history. The last time this had taken place was March 19, 1910 when Speaker Joseph Cannon, a Republican from Illinois, survived the effort.  

U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff listens as U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, speaks to the Georgia delegation during a reception on Thursday, September 21, 2024 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Back to pertinent and relevant business: if the government were to shutdown again, roughly 221,000 Georgians — including approximately 50,800 women, 112,600 children, and 57,440 infants—who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) could lose funds to purchase food within a few days of a shutdown.  

“It has been a day full of twists and turns, but the American people can breathe a sigh of relief: There will be no government shutdown,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in his press conference. 

Additionally, as many as 1,988 Head Start and Early Head Start students (ages 0-5) across Georgia may stop receiving services if the federal government shuts down. The number will increase if the shutdown continues, leaving many low-income working parents on their own to cover child care costs. Lastly, Georgia’s 11 national parks may close, or have their access severely limited, including the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and MLK Jr.’s Freedom Hall.  

“As I have said for weeks, the only path forward was bipartisanship,” said Ossoff.

Laphonza Butler’s nomination to the Senate is a masterclass by Gov. Newsom

Sunday evening, California Governor Gavin Newsom named Laphonza Butler to the U.S. Senate, in a caretaker role. Butler will serve in the seat that was left vacant by the passing of Senator Dianne Finestein. Newsom has long since promised he’d name a Black woman to the Senate if anything were to happen to Feinstein. It was great that he fulfilled his promise. What should you know about Laphonza Butler?

Butler is 44 and the leader of EMILY’s List, an American political action committee that helps elect Democratic female candidates in favor of abortion rights to office. It was founded by Ellen Malcolm in 1985. The group’s name is an acronym for “Early Money Is Like Yeast”.

When Butler was 30, she led SEIU Local 215, where she successfully led the effort to raise California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Former House speaker Nancy Pelosi described Butler in a tweet as a “lifelong champion for women and girls and working families” and added Butler “will be effective from the start in delivering for the people of California.”

“An advocate for women and girls, a second-generation fighter for working people, and a trusted adviser to Vice President Harris, Laphonza Butler represents the best of California, and she’ll represent us proudly in the United States Senate,” Newsom said in a statement.

Butler currently is the only Black woman and the first LGBTQ+ woman to serve in the Senate. For historical context, Butler is also the third Black woman to serve in the Senate. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois served for one term from 1993 to 1999 and Kamala Harris from 2017 to 2021 until she ascended to the office of Vice President of the United States. 

Notably, Gov. Newsom did not name Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Katie Porter, or Rep. Adam Schiff to former Senator Feinstein’s seat because that action would effectively place his thumb on the scale of this primary race.

The Congressional Black Caucus advocated for Lee’s nomination to the Senate in a caretaker role. However, on the heels of Newsom’s announcement, supported his decision to nominate Butler. 

“Her background and years of experience will bring a much-needed perspective to the Senate, which currently does not have any Black women,” the CBC said in a statement. “For many years, Laphonza Butler has been a champion for women and girls, students, and union workers, and we believe she will bring that same fight to the U.S. Senate on behalf of Californians and our entire nation.”

The bottom line is this: Butler’s appointment to the Senate is justified. She reserves the right to run for Senate when it’s time for her to make her intentions known on December 5th. Butler is a well-renowned fundraiser, she is well-connected and would lower the average age of the Senate slightly from the current 65.3 years. When the GOP is mad at Newsom for naming Butler to the Senate, a good deed was actually performed. 

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...