House approves spending bill, shifting shutdown drama to Senate

The House on Thursday night approved a stopgap measure to keep the government open less than 36 hours before a possible shutdown, shifting the drama to a Senate where Democrats are threatening to block the GOP bill.

The final vote was 230-197, with six Democrats voting for the measure and 11 Republicans voting against it.

The Senate is expected to vote on a procedural motion later Thursday to take up the House bill. The procedural vote is expected to be approved, but a follow-up procedural motion to move the bill to a final up-or-down vote is expected to fail and may not even clinch a simple majority as several Republicans have already voiced opposition.  

That would require Senate negotiators to come up with a deal before 11:59 pm Friday to avoid a government shutdown.

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House GOP leaders found enough votes to pass their measure over Democratic opposition after a deal was reached with conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus, who had threatened to oppose the bill throughout Thursday.

The group’s chairman, Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsFreedom Caucus lawmakers call on DOJ to probe Rosenstein allegations House GOP questions FBI lawyer for second day Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus MORE (R-N.C.), secured an agreement with GOP leaders to consider military spending within 10 legislative days.

Most GOP defense hawks said they would vote to avert a shutdown, despite their frustration with repeated short-term bills to fund the military.

Nearly all Democrats refused to support the legislation, which would extend funding through Feb. 16, in the absence of a solution to protect young immigrants known as “Dreamers.” They're insisting that lawmakers find a way to protect the Dreamers sooner rather than later before agreeing to a budget deal that would pave the way for a long-term government spending plan.

The 11 Republicans who voted against the stopgap were mostly members of the Freedom Caucus, but included two Florida centrists — Reps. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloMueller indictments: Congressional candidate asked Russian operatives for info on opponent Lawmakers discuss efforts to boost Latino entrepreneurship On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump suggests China is easing pressure on North Korea because of trade fight | Mulvaney taps top aide as No. 2 at consumer bureau | House Republican to offer bill to curtail Trump's trade powers MORE and Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-Lehtinen'Paws for Celebration' event brings rescue animals to the Capitol An important story that must be told GOP lawmakers relieved with Pruitt’s departure MORE — who, like Democrats, are demanding a solution for immigrants brought to country as children.

Six centrist Democrats defected to support the bill: Reps. Salud CarbajalSalud CarbajalDems demand answers on Pentagon not recognizing Pride Month The Hill's Morning Report: As Trump talks, his lawyers sweat Fearing war by tweet, Dems press for limits on Trump's powers MORE (Calif.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaDem, GOP groups prepare spending blitz for midterms Religious tensions flare after chaplain's ouster House passes 5-year reauthorization of Federal Aviation Administration MORE (Calif.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Vicente González (Texas), Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerBipartisan group of lawmakers seeks rules changes under next Speaker GOP dissidents on cusp of forcing immigration votes The Hill's Morning Report: As Trump talks, his lawyers sweat MORE (N.J.) and Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonHouse and Senate farm bills set contrasting visions for SNAP program Commodity checkoff reform needed Democrats should stop agonizing over a national message for 2018 MORE (Minn.). 
Many Senate Democrats also oppose the measure in part because of the immigration issue.

They are under enormous pressure from immigrant groups to toe a hard line after agreeing to short-term spending measures in the past that left the Dreamers issue to the side.

Yet they also are confronting the risk of setting up Democrats representing states won by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE to take some of the blame for a shutdown. Ten Democrats are running for reelection in this year’s midterm elections in states won by Trump, and their fates could determine the Senate’s balance of power next year.

The House measure includes a six-year extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which expired at the end of September. States are at risk of running out of money to cover health care for children in low-income families.

The inclusion of CHIP was thought to be a way of sweetening the pot for Democrats, but it did little to move the needle.

Republicans on Thursday were continuing to warn Democrats they would be blamed for holding up the health-care funding and money for the military if they block the House bill.

“I think it's unconscionable that Democrats would walk away from CHIP, from funding our military, for something that is not a deadline,” Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Kelly lobbied Republicans to rebuke Trump after Putin press conference: report Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) said.

The remarks about a deadline refer to the Dreamers issue. Republicans have argued Congress has time to help DACA recipients.

Democrats, for their part, argue it is Republicans who are taking a risk by not working with Democrats on the funding bill.

Because the GOP has control of the executive branch and Congress, they say Republicans will get the blame for a shutdown.

“I think the public knows that the Congress of the United States has a Republican majority in the Senate, and the House, and in the White House, a president to sign their legislation,” House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiRoby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism Mellman: (Mis)interpreting elections Overnight Health Care: Trump officials score a win against Planned Parenthood | Idaho residents to vote on Medicaid expansion | PhRMA, insurers weigh in on Trump drug pricing plan MORE (D-Calif.) said.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerThis week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Red-state Dem tells Schumer to 'kiss my you know what' on Supreme Court vote Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (N.Y.) is hoping to pressure GOP leaders to negotiate and avert a shutdown exactly a year after Trump took office and just over a week before the State of the Union address.

Only one Senate Democrat, Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Morrisey accuses Manchin of 'lying' to Trump, attacks ‘liberal’ record The Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments MORE (W.Va.), has publicly suggested support for a stopgap that doesn’t include language addressing the Dreamers, though several more are undecided or have not made their positions known.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash House passes bipartisan bill to boost business investment MORE (R-Ky.) also faces a divided conference. Republican Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamKelly lobbied Republicans to rebuke Trump after Putin press conference: report Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE (S.C.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Nation editor: Reaction by most of the media to Trump-Putin press conference 'is like mob violence' Lewandowski: Trump-Putin meeting advances goal of world peace Rand Paul to travel to Russia after downplaying election meddling MORE (Ky.) said they will vote against the House stopgap measure.

If the bill ultimately becomes law, it would be the fourth temporary funding patch since the fiscal year began. Members of both sides are growing weary of repeated standoffs and question whether yet another stopgap will help lead to any progress.

Graham is pushing for long-term defense funding as well as a bipartisan fix for Dreamers, which he argued yet another short-term bill wouldn’t help.

“It’s time Congress stop the cycle of dysfunction, grow up and act consistent with the values of a great nation,” Graham said.

Lawmakers acknowledged that the risk of a shutdown is growing by the hour with no deal in sight.

Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyOvernight Energy: Fewer than half of school districts test for lead | Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act | FEMA avoids climate change when discussing plan for future storms Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog won’t drop Pruitt probes | Exxon leaves conservative advocacy group | Lawmakers offer changes to Endangered Species Act House Dem amendment seeks to ensure Pruitt probes are completed MORE (D-Va.), who represents a Northern Virginia district with thousands of federal workers, said that a resolution “gets harder, not easier, with time.”

“I think every minute that goes by right now without a resolution, it’s dangerous. Because there are more and more reasons to vote 'no,' there are more and more demands put on it, factions start to really gel,” Connolly said.