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 GohmertPence to give keynote address at National Conservative Student Conference Gaetz, House Republicans introduce bill to defund Postal Service covert operations program 136 Republicans get Fs in accountability rankings from anti-Trump GOP group 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 AmashBiden: 'Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK' Battle rages over vaccine passports Republicans eye primaries in impeachment vote MORE (Mich.), Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessAmericans have decided to give professionals a chance Six ways to visualize a divided America Capitol Police tribute turns political MORE (Texas), Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzCongress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE (Utah), Jeff FortenberryJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FortenberryMarjorie Taylor Greene's delay tactics frustrate GOP Biden can build on Pope Francis's visit to Iraq McMorris Rodgers floats vacating Speaker's chair over Democrat's in-person vote after COVID diagnosis 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 Sen. Tom Coburn dies at 72 Ex-GOP lawmakers side with NY in Supreme Court case over Trump tax returns Former GOP lawmakers, officials ask court to enforce House subpoena on McGahn 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 GriffinTrump faces test of power with early endorsements Trump announces new tranche of endorsements The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending 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 WoodallMcCarthy guarantees GOP will take back House in 2022 Rundown of the House seats Democrats, GOP flipped on Election Day Bustos won't seek to chair DCCC again in wake of 2020 results 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 CantorCantor: 'Level of craziness' in Washington has increased 'on both sides' White House says bills are bipartisan even if GOP doesn't vote for them Trump the X-factor in Virginia governor race 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 ReidBiden's first 100 days is stylistic 'antithesis' of Trump The Memo: Washington's fake debate on 'bipartisanship' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring 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.