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 MeadowsRepublicans threaten to subpoena Nellie Ohr Conservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Graham to renew call for second special counsel 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 CurbeloDems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage GOP, White House start playing midterm blame game The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Cuomo wins and Manafort plea deal MORE and Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenCook moves status of 6 House races as general election sprint begins The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Cuomo wins and Manafort plea deal Trump's Puerto Rico tweets spark backlash 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 CarbajalLatinos aren't reaching top military positions, study shows IRS makes it easy for nonprofits to spend dark money in our elections Dems demand answers on Pentagon not recognizing Pride Month MORE (Calif.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaTwitter reverses decision to block GOP candidate from promoting video Dem, GOP groups prepare spending blitz for midterms Religious tensions flare after chaplain's ouster MORE (Calif.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Vicente González (Texas), Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerDems vow rules overhaul to empower members if House flips Problem Solvers Caucus has a vision: a bipartisan House Bipartisan group of lawmakers seeks rules changes under next Speaker 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 TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her 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 RyanHow does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act GOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign 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 PelosiDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act Internal RNC poll shows Pelosi is more popular than Trump: report MORE (D-Calif.) said.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation 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) ManchinDoug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh Cook Political Report moves Texas Senate race to ‘toss-up’ The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh 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 McConnellDoug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week GOP, Kavanaugh accuser struggle to reach deal MORE (R-Ky.) also faces a divided conference. Republican Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Kim, Moon toss ball to Trump in ‘last, best chance’ for Korean peace GOP senator: Kavanaugh accuser 'moving the goalposts' MORE (S.C.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulConservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Senate approves 4B spending bill Some employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report 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 ConnollyDem on Puerto Rico and Trump: ‘God only knows’ what he'd consider a failure Congress losing faith in Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi Virginia reps urge Trump to declare federal emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence 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.