Senate ends first year under Trump by voting to prevent shutdown

The Senate approved a stopgap spending bill on Thursday night, ensuring there will be no government shutdown days before Christmas and essentially completing a frenetic year on Capitol Hill — and the first under President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: Meetings on potential North Korea summit going 'very well' Freed American 'overwhelmed with gratitude' after being released from Venezuela Ivanka Trump to campaign for Devin Nunes in California MORE.

Senators voted 66-32 to approve the roughly four-week continuing resolution (CR), which funds the government through Jan. 19, hours after it passed the House.

Seventeen Democrats voted for the measure, including several up for reelection next year in states carried by Trump such as Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyOvernight Finance: Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback | Snubs key Dems at ceremony | Senate confirms banking regulator | Lawmakers lash out on Trump auto tariffs Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback Trump doesn't invite key Dems to signing ceremony on their bill MORE (Ind.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMcConnell sees Ohio in play as confidence about midterms grows   Protect air ambulance services that fill the health care access gap in rural America Dems seek to chip away at Trump’s economic record MORE (Mo.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Finance: House sends Dodd-Frank rollbacks to Trump | What's in the bill | Trump says there is 'no deal' to help ZTE | Panel approves bill to toughen foreign investment reviews House votes to ease regulation of banks, sending bill to Trump Senators demand answers on Trump’s ZTE deal MORE (W.Va.).

But leadership, including Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Finance: White House planning new tax cut proposal this summer | Schumer wants Congress to block reported ZTE deal | Tech scrambles to comply with new data rules OPEC and Russia may raise oil output under pressure from Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — GOP centrists in striking distance of immigration vote MORE (D-N.Y.), as well as many of the party's potential 2020 contenders, opposed the bill.

Two Republicans, Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Trump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform Denial of services to same-sex couples can harm their health MORE (Utah) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Pro-Trump super PAC raises .5 million in 6 weeks Trump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform MORE (Ky.), bucked their party and voted "no." 

ADVERTISEMENT

The vote concludes a successful week for Republicans, who on Wednesday finished work on a sweeping tax-cut bill that marked the first major legislative win for Trump.

There were some hiccups along the way with the spending bill, but GOP leaders shepherded the legislation through both chambers on Thursday in part by arguing that it did not make sense to step on the party's successful message on taxes.

Defense hawks had pressed for more funding for the Pentagon. They wanted a deal that increased the spending ceilings for defense, and that would prevent automatic spending cuts scheduled to start at the end of next month without a new measure for the year.

Meanwhile, a coalition of progressive Democrats bucked the bill because lawmakers failed to get a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by the end of the year.

Democrats lined up on the Senate floor ahead of the vote to demand that Congress pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

"Congress could show some courage and protect dreamers by passing a clean DREAM Act. We have waited too long already. ... So my question to Sen. [Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky.] is this: What are you waiting for?" asked Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenFortune 500 CEOs: The professional athletes of corporate America The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — The art of walking away from the deal Rising star Abrams advances in Georgia governor race MORE (D-Mass.), referring to the Senate majority leader.

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) met with Schumer on Thursday afternoon to urge him to take a harder line in the immigration fight.

But Democratic leadership remained tight-lipped about if they would force a shutdown in the hours leading up to the Senate’s vote.

“We’re not going to address any of those things until we see what the House does,” Schumer told reporters during a press conference on Thursday.

Unlike in the House, where the stopgap bill passed with only Republican votes, GOP leadership needed the support of at least eight Democrats to get the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles. Speeding up the continuing resolution also required the agreement of every senator.

Preventing the shutdown will send GOP lawmakers and Trump off on their holiday breaks with a successful conclusion to a difficult year in which they struggled on legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Bickering between Trump and members of the Senate GOP conference was also common.

Still, Republicans will return in January to what could be a difficult set of challenges.

They will have to agree to legislation to keep the government open again before Jan. 19, and also face battles over the DACA program and two health-care bills that the White House and McConnell had promised to move in exchange for Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Hillicon Valley: Sweeping new data rules take effect | Facebook, Google already hit with complaints | Schumer slams reported ZTE deal | Senators look to save cyber post | Dem wants answers about Trump's phone security Senators express concern over Trump's decision to scrap top cyber post MORE's support on the tax-cut bill.

The Maine Republican didn't get what was promised to her in December, but will be looking for results in January.

Passage of the continuing resolution comes after Senate Republicans were largely stuck in limbo as they waited for their House counterparts to agree on a bill that could pass the Senate.

Initially, Republicans were expected to add two bills aimed at fixing ObamaCare, sought by Collins, into the legislation once it reached the Senate. But they dropped that plan after it became clear that it couldn’t pass the House and as lawmakers were scrambling to get on the same page with a shutdown looming.

Asked on Thursday if they had the votes to pass the stopgap bill, Sen. John CornynJohn CornynRepublican leader: ‘For all practical purposes’ there’s no difference between an FBI informant and a spy Schumer: Congress must stop reported ZTE deal 'in its tracks' Hillicon Valley: Experts worry North Korea will retaliate with hacks over summit | FBI works to disrupt Russian botnet | Trump officials look to quell anger over ZTE | Obama makes case for tighter regs on tech MORE (R-Texas) fired back: “Does the House have the votes to pass the CR?”

The president also lashed out at House Democrats in a tweet earlier Thursday, saying they were trying to overshadow the GOP tax bill by forcing a shutdown.

“House Democrats want a SHUTDOWN for the holidays in order to distract from the very popular, just passed, Tax Cuts. House Republicans, don’t let this happen. Pass the C.R. TODAY and keep our Government OPEN!” Trump wrote.

The funding bill also includes a short-term extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), some spending “anomalies” for defense, a waiver for the pay-as-you-go budgetary rules so the GOP tax bill doesn’t trigger Medicare cuts and an extension of a controversial surveillance program.

The National Security Agency’s (NSA) warrantless surveillance program, which was set to expire on Dec. 31, allows the government to collect emails and text messages sent by foreign spies, terrorists and other foreign targets overseas. One section of the law, Section 702, has drawn criticism from privacy advocates because of the potential for U.S. citizens' communications to be swept up in the surveillance.

Congress has offered competing versions of legislation to extend and reform the program, but still needs to work out the differences between the bills.

And a bipartisan group of privacy hawks in the Senate, as well as the far-right House Freedom Caucus, warned that they would oppose including a long-term extension in the continuing resolution.

“Congress should not vote on any long-term reauthorization of Section 702 until both the House and Senate have fully debated meaningful reforms in 2018,” Paul and Lee said in a joint statement with Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Abortion rights group plans M campaign to flip the House The federal judiciary needs more Latino judges Senate Dems to Mnuchin: Don't index capital gains to inflation MORE (D-Ore.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyMcConnell sets 'minibus' strategy for 2019 spending Dem senator mocks Pruitt over alleged security threats: 'Nobody even knows who you are' Pruitt tells senators: ‘I share your concerns about some of these decisions’ MORE (D-Vt.).

Meanwhile, Paul warned earlier Thursday that he would force a roll call vote on the funding bill because it included a waiver to raise the pay-go rules. But he failed to strip the waiver out of the legislation in a 91-8 vote.

“Calling all conservatives, libertarians, and anyone who believes in limited government: call your legislatures and say don’t exceed the budget caps,” Paul said in a tweet ahead of the vote.

Updated: 8:49 p.m.