House votes to advance $1.3T omnibus

Greg Nash

The House has voted to advance a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package, overcoming objections from conservative Republicans.

The rule governing debate on the measure was approved in a 211-207 vote, setting up a final vote on the bill later on Thursday. The Senate will also have to approve the package to send it to the White House. 

The rule vote came with a lot of drama. 

{mosads}The gavel came down soon after the “yes” tally hit 211, as some Democrats appeared to be still trying to vote, with some voices yelling “one more vote.”

Rep. Hank Johnson (Ga.) was one of the Dems running down the aisle to get to the well and cast his vote at the last second.

A CSPAN video showed that nine Democrats and three Republicans had not voted when the gavel came down. It wasn’t immediately clear how many of those members were absent from the House on Thursday, though Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) estimated that there were still around “four or five” hold outs.

The majority typically leaves the vote open until all members have voted, even after the time has expired.

“It was a very contentious vote within their own caucus,” said Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.). “I don’t think it’s because they were trying to diss Johnson, but there was no way they were not going to bang that gavel.”

Democrats doubted that their votes would have made a difference anyway, noting that several Republicans had switched from “no” to “yes.”

But instead of forcing more of their own members to change their votes if more Democratic “no’s” piled up, Republicans shut it down as soon as they had enough support to clinch it.

The measure faced pushback from House conservatives, who argued they were not provided enough time to review the 2,232-page measure, which was only released last night.

In the end, 25 Republicans voted against the measure — an unusually high number. One Democrat — Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who is running for the Senate, voted for the rule.

Rule votes are tests of party discipline, with members of each party expected to support their leadership on the rule. Democrats mostly voted against the rule, with only one member of the caucus supporting it. 

But because of the GOP defections, what is normally an easy vote for the GOP majority was a nailbiter.
Conservatives also argue the expensive bill is bloated and that it does not do enough for GOP priorities such as building a wall on the Mexican border and blocking funding for Planned Parenthood.

President Trump is backing the measure, however, which likely contributed to its success. He has hailed money in the bill for border fencing.

The government will shut down on Saturday without a new funding bill. 
This story was updated at 1:28 p.m.
Tags Budget Dan Kildee Donald Trump Hank Johnson Immigration John Larson Omnibus spending bill
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