House sets up votes on five spending bills

The broad Democratic vote against the rule reflects their opposition to the GOP's piecemeal approach to funding the government.

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Democrats have continued to call for House passage of a Senate spending bill that does not try to defund or undermine ObamaCare. Just before the rule vote, Democrats made an attempt to get the House to consider the Senate plan, through a technical process called a "previous question" vote.

The minority party often uses these "previous question" votes to change the topic legislatively, and they always fail. This time around, Democrats seemed to be urging Republicans to join them — at least a dozen Republicans are known to be in favor of passing the Senate's bill at this point to end the shutdown.

"This will probably be the only chance in this House that you will get to vote on what everyone has been asking for," said Rules Committee ranking member Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).

But that appeal fell on deaf Republican ears, as every Republican voted together to reject the Democrats' procedural move. At least for this week, that vote would appear to end any chance the Democrats have to force a House vote on the Senate bill.

During debate on the rule, Republicans implored Democrats to support the five spending bills in order to help end the shutdown for at least some portions of the government. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) said using this piecemeal approach could start the process of reaching a broader agreement on other areas of spending.

"I understand we're going to continue to disagree, but let's do those things on which we agree," he said. "These five bills contain the first of those ideas, and I commit to my colleagues, if we can begin this process today, we can be right back here tomorrow doing more of it."

But Democrats accused Republicans of trying to mitigate the effects of a shutdown that they caused when they refused to take the Senate's bill.

"These proposals are cynical attempts to make these things pinch just a little bit less," Slaughter said. "The majority is making itself clear. Any time they see a bad headline, they're going to bring a bill to the floor to make it go away."