Senate passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown

Greg Nash

Congress passed a one-week stopgap funding bill Friday to prevent a government shutdown on the 100th day of President Trump’s administration.  

Senators cleared the continuing resolution by voice vote shortly after the House voted 382-30 on the legislation.

Lawmakers had until midnight to pass government funding and send the bill to Trump’s desk. 

The measure will keep the government open through May 5 and give negotiators more time to reach a larger agreement on an omnibus bill that would include funding for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. 

{mosads}”The legislation should pass today, and it will carry us through next week so that a bipartisan final agreement can be reached and so that members will have time to review the legislation before we take it up,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said from the Senate floor. 

Republican lawmakers have downplayed the chances of a shutdown as the Trump administration has struggled to score major legislative victories despite winning the first unified GOP government in a decade. 

The Senate’s low-drama vote came after Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) blocked a deal on passing the stopgap measure over concerns about the remaining hurdles in the larger deal. 

But Schumer signaled on Friday morning that Democrats were willing to back the one-week stopgap bill as they try to lock down an agreement.

“We’re willing to extend things for a little bit more time in hopes that the same kind of progress can continue to be made,” Schumer told reporters. 

Negotiators are still ironing out a final agreement even as lawmakers prepare to leave Washington until early next week. 

Schumer noted Friday that negotiators stayed up past 1 a.m. making a “good deal of progress.” 

“Not all the poison pill riders have been eliminated. Some have, a good number have,” he said. “But we still have a little bit of a ways to go.”

Democrats have voiced concerns over including “poison pills” that would roll back Dodd-Frank protections, women’s healthcare and environmental regulations. 

They also want an extension on healthcare for miners — a provision backed by McConnell — and help for Puerto Rico so the island can better manage its debt. 

Trump appeared to reject including help for the island territory this week, tweeting: “The Democrats want to shut government if we don’t bail out Puerto Rico and give billions to their insurance companies for OCare failure. NO!” 

The president also repeatedly warned that Democrats were the ones pushing for a shutdown and would own any political backlash. 

“As families prepare for summer vacations in our National Parks – Democrats threaten to close them and shut down the government. Terrible!” he tweeted Thursday, one of several tweets arguing that Democrats were gunning for a shutdown. 

But Trump will need Democratic votes to clear the longer spending bill. The legislation will require 60 votes in the Senate, and the GOP has a 52-seat majority. And Republicans could need help in the House if conservative lawmakers balk. 

One of the biggest hurdles to a deal was resolved earlier this week when the Trump administration backed off its demands that money for the border wall be included. 

Lawmakers could instead include border security money that would allow the Trump administration to increase technology or repair fencing, kicking the border wall fight to the fall.

“Democrats have always been for border security. … We may address border security in this bill as well, but it will not include any funding for the wall, plain and simple,” Schumer said from the Senate floor this week.

The Trump administration also assured Democrats that it would continue making ObamaCare’s cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers to help subsidize low-income healthcare plans, mollifying Democrats who had initially demanded that the money be included in the bill. 

“We’ve heard from … the Trump administration that they will be going with the cost-sharing funding,” House Minority Leader Pelosi (D-Calif.) said. “I think we’re in a good place with them on this.”

Tags Charles Schumer Mitch McConnell
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