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 MeadowsTrump reacts to Ginsburg's death: 'An amazing woman who led an amazing life' Trump carries on with rally, unaware of Ginsburg's death United Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid 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 CurbeloGOP wants more vision, policy from Trump at convention Mucarsel-Powell, Giménez to battle for Florida swing district The Memo: GOP cringes at new Trump race controversy MORE and Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-Lehtinen'Trump show' convention sparks little interest on K Street Shalala to face Salazar in Florida rematch TechNet hires Hispanic communications director 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 CarbajalNunes opponent pins hopes on shifting demographics in uphill battle Democratic lawmakers launch 'Mean Girls'-inspired initiative to promote face masks Federal employees push for COVID-19 protections in 'dangerous' workplaces MORE (Calif.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaHouse Democrats call on State Department for information on Uighur prisoner Ekpar Asat Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs Black Caucus rallies behind Meeks for Foreign Affairs gavel MORE (Calif.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Vicente González (Texas), Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerCentrist House group offers bipartisan COVID-19 relief deal Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers introduce resolution condemning QAnon | US Cyber Command leader vows to 'defend forward' in protecting nation from cyberattacks House Democrats request briefing on seizure of terrorist cryptocurrency assets MORE (N.J.) and Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonThe Hill's Campaign Report: 19 years since 9/11 | Dem rival to Marjorie Taylor Greene drops out | Collin Peterson faces fight of his career | Court delivers blow to ex-felon voting rights in Florida Peterson faces fight of his career in deep-red Minnesota district Democrats for Life urge DNC to change party platform on abortion 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 TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally 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 RyanKenosha will be a good bellwether in 2020 At indoor rally, Pence says election runs through Wisconsin Juan Williams: Breaking down the debates 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 PelosiSunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Trump is betting big on the suburbs, but his strategy is failing 'bigly' Trump orders flags at half-staff to honor 'trailblazer' Ginsburg MORE (D-Calif.) said.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerVideo of Lindsey Graham arguing against nominating a Supreme Court justice in an election year goes viral Graham signals support for confirming a Supreme Court nominee this year Pelosi orders Capitol flags at half-staff to honor Ginsburg 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) ManchinMomentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day Gardner on court vacancy: Country needs to mourn Ginsburg 'before the politics begin' Barrett seen as a front-runner for Trump Supreme Court pick 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 McConnellMomentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day Trump expects to nominate woman to replace Ginsburg next week Video of Lindsey Graham arguing against nominating a Supreme Court justice in an election year goes viral MORE (R-Ky.) also faces a divided conference. Republican Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMomentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day Video of Lindsey Graham arguing against nominating a Supreme Court justice in an election year goes viral Warning signs flash for Lindsey Graham in South Carolina MORE (S.C.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSecond GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GOP senator to quarantine after coronavirus exposure The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind - Trump seeks to flip 'Rage' narrative; Dems block COVID-19 bill 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 ConnollyJudge issues nationwide injunction against Postal Service changes House panel advances bill to ban Postal Service leaders from holding political positions Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' 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.