The House narrowly passed legislation on Friday that calls for a House-passed FY 2011 spending bill to become law should the Senate fail to approve a spending bill by April 6. It would also prevent members of Congress from being paid during a government shutdown.

The bill, H.R. 1255, was approved over bitter Democratic opposition in a 221-202 vote in which no Democrats supported it, and 15 Republicans opposed it.

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Several Democrats argued that the measure is unconstitutional, charging that it would "deem" that the 2011 spending bill, H.R. 1, has the force of law if the Senate fails to act. Some Democrats seized on the floor comments from Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertHouse Natural Resources gives Grijalva power to subpoena Interior Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel Sheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade MORE (R-Texas), who broke with his party and said on the floor that this aspect of the bill "violates my conscience and the Constitution, and I cannot vote for it."

Republicans voting "no" were Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashBarr ensnared in Roger Stone firestorm House passes bipartisan bill to create women's history museum Weld bets on New Hampshire to fuel long shot bid against Trump MORE (Mich.), Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Juul pitched products to Native American tribes | Vaping execs deny deliberately targeting young people | Republicans seek hearing on Medicaid block grants Overnight Health Care: Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat | House panel to examine federal marijuana policies | House GOP reopens investigation into opioid manufacturers Lawmakers express alarm over rise in cocaine overdose deaths MORE (Texas), Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzThe myth of the conservative bestseller Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records MORE (Utah), Jeff FortenberryJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FortenberryHouse Democrats urge Trump to end deportations of Iraqis after diabetic man's death House Appropriations passes defense bill that would limit funds for border wall, pull US support from Yemen war Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill MORE (Neb.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Richard Hanna (NY), Walter Jones (NC), Dan Lungren (Calif.), Tom McClintock (Calif.), Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.), Ron Paul (Texas), Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeSheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade Senate Dem to reintroduce bill with new name after 'My Little Pony' confusion Texas New Members 2019 MORE (Texas), Reid RibbleReid James RibbleFormer GOP lawmakers, officials ask court to enforce House subpoena on McGahn Keep our elections free and fair Setting the record straight about No Labels MORE (Wis.), Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.), and James Sensenbrenner (Wis.). Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdThe biggest political upsets of the decade Members spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations MORE (R-Texas) was the only member of the House to vote "present."

Democratic leaders echoed Gohmert throughout the day, and argued that the prospect of deeming H.R. 1 as U.S. law is a serious violation of the founding document of the United States.

"What you see on the floor today is no example of Democracy in action," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said. "It's silly. The Republican leadership is asking its members to make a silly vote."

"April Fools, America," House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said. "This is a joke, America. This is not real, America."

Other Democrats openly mocked Republicans and said they fail to understand the basic constitutional requirement that bills must pass the House and Senate before they become law. Two members suggested children's books as a way for Republicans to begin to learn about the Constitution — Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) offered How our Laws are Made, and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) offered House Mouse, Senate Mouse.

"It's a much thinner book and it rhymes," Weiner said.

Several others encouraged Republicans to watch "I'm Just a Bill," the classic 1970s cartoon explaining how a bill becomes law.

Republicans repeatedly dismissed these arguments and said they agree that the bill would also have to be approved by the Senate before H.R. 1 could be implemented. Rep. Tim GriffinJohn (Tim) Timothy GriffinFlynn discloses lobbying that may have helped Turkey Tea Party class reassesses record Huckabee's daughter to run '16 campaign MORE (R-Ark.) said Republicans are not operating under the idea that House passage alone would make H.R. 1 the law of the land, and said for this reason the bill is consistent with the Constitution.

Today's House vote was largely symbolic precisely because it would require the Senate to approve the same bill and President Obama would have to sign it, neither of which is expected to happen. Still, Republicans insisted that the vote is important because it clarifies that the House has passed a bill, while the Senate has yet to make it clear that it can pass any counter-proposal that might form the starting point of a negotiation.

During the debate, Rep. Rob WoodallWilliam (Rob) Robert WoodallHouse candidate asks FEC to let her use campaign funds for health insurance House Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts Trump shocks, earns GOP rebukes with Dingell remarks MORE (R-Ga.) took the Democratic poster depicting the "I'm Just a Bill" cartoon, flipped it around to reveal its blank side, and said, "Here's the work product of the Senate. How do you negotiate with that?"

House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorThe Democrats' strategy conundrum: a 'movement' or a coalition? The biggest political upsets of the decade Bottom Line MORE (R-Va.) reiterated this point, and said the prospect of a government shutdown "looms ever larger" because the Senate has refused to pass a bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid: 'People should not be counting Joe Biden out of the race yet' Warren highlights work with Obama, Harry Reid in new Nevada ad Yes, Democrats have to defend their African-American base against Trump MORE (D-Nev.) slammed the bill's passage on Friday and said House Republicans are "wasting time."

"Unfortunately, today my colleagues in the House seem to be listening to this small but loud minority," Reid said in a statement. "Instead of working to create jobs, they are wasting time by voting yet again on a reckless spending bill that would destroy 700,000 jobs."

Cantor said the Senate still has the option of accepting the $61 billion in cuts approved in H.R. 1 if it finds it cannot pass any other bill.

"Funding the government at the levels passed by House Republicans might not be what Senator Reid wants, but surely even he would agree that it's a better alternative than shutting down the government," he said.

- This article was updated at 3:53 p.m.