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 MeadowsHouse Judiciary to hear whistleblowers on 'politicization' of Justice Dept under Trump How Trump cleared the park around the White House for church photo op Trump visits historic DC church after protesters cleared with tear gas 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 CurbeloTrump, GOP go all-in on anti-China strategy Republicans can't exploit the left's climate extremism without a better idea Progressive Latino group launches first incumbent protection campaign MORE and Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenWomen are refusing to take the backseat in politics, especially Latinas Watchdog groups call for investigation into Ros-Lehtinen's foreign lobbying work Ex-Rep. Frelinghuysen joins law and lobby firm 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 CarbajalFederal employees push for COVID-19 protections in 'dangerous' workplaces Hispanic Caucus demands protections for agricultural workers in next coronavirus bill Activists, analysts demand Congress consider immigrants in coronavirus package MORE (Calif.), Jim CostaJames (Jim) Manuel CostaLet's support and ensure the safety of workers risking so much for us Five factors to watch in the meat supply chain crisis Lawmakers, union leaders call for increased safety measures in meat plants MORE (Calif.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Vicente González (Texas), Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerGun control group rolls out House endorsements A quiet, overlooked revolution in congressional power Bipartisan Senate group offers new help to state, local governments MORE (N.J.) and Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonFrom farmers to grocery store clerks, thank you to all of our food system Group of House Democrats asks for 0 billion for testing The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Chef José Andrés says most political leaders today are not acting with urgency; Dems crafting 'Rooseveltian' relief package 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 TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests 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 RyanTwitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why Lobbying world John Ratcliffe is the right choice for director of national intelligence — and for America 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 PelosiPelosi scoffs at comparison between Trump and Churchill: 'I think they're hallucinating' Republicans stand by Esper after public break with Trump Pelosi joins protests against George Floyd's death outside Capitol MORE (D-Calif.) said.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell blocks resolution condemning Trump over treatment of protesters House Democrat demands answers from Secret Service about role breaking up White House protests Pelosi, Schumer say treatment of protesters outside White House 'dishonors every value that faith teaches us' 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) ManchinDemocratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December 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 McConnellSenate passes bill to give flexibility for small business coronavirus aid program On The Money: GOP turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks | Millions of Americans frustrated by delayed unemployment checks | Senate votes to give coronavirus relief program more flexibility Rand Paul holding up quick passage of anti-lynching bill MORE (R-Ky.) also faces a divided conference. Republican Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHouse Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on police brutality next week McCabe, Rosenstein spar over Russia probe Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony MORE (S.C.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul holding up quick passage of anti-lynching bill Democratic senator to offer amendment halting 'military weaponry' given to police Second senator tests positive for coronavirus antibodies 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 ConnollyHouse committee chair requests immediate briefing on Secret Service's involvement in clearing protesters House Democrat demands answers from Secret Service about role breaking up White House protests Democrats to probe Trump's replacement of top Transportation Dept. watchdog 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.