The House on Tuesday passed its tenth short-term funding resolution for 2014, amid ongoing Democratic opposition to the GOP's piecemeal funding approach on the eighth day of the shutdown.
Members passed the Head Start for Low-Income Children Act, H.J.Res. 84, in a 248-168 vote. But while Democrats again called on the GOP to pass the Senate's clean spending bill, 23 Democrats supported the GOP resolution; only two Republicans opposed it.
Republicans today renewed their attempt to convince Democrats to support this resolution and others as a way to reduce the more drastic effects of the shutdown. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said that with the Head Start bill, Republicans have gone a significant way toward refunding the government at this point.
"The nine bills the House has passed since Oct. 1 to reopen the government — this will be the tenth — constitute nearly one-third of the federal government's discretionary budget," he said. "These ten bills fund very critical programs, cleanly, as the Senate has demanded, and have been supported on a bipartisan basis in this House.
"So why are these bills still sitting on Harry Reid's desk? Why is the Senate not making every stride they can to help our nation's disadvantaged children, hungry families and our veterans?"
House Democrats answered for him, repeating their argument that Congress needs to approve a blanket spending bill for the entire government rather than one agency at a time. Appropriations Committee ranking member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said the GOP bills are disingenuous, as Republicans were trying to make cuts to many programs, like Head Start, earlier in the year.
"I wish my Republican colleagues had shown the same level of concern for Head Start earlier in the year, when the majority proposed to slash the Labor-HHS spending bill by 22 percent," she said.
Head Start is a federal program that funds preschool programs for children from low-income families. Rogers said the bill passed today would give the program access to funds at a pace of $7.586 billion per year, but only through Dec. 15, the stop date for other GOP funding bills.
"As we work our way out of this shutdown mess, we shouldn't let some of our more vulnerable citizens, low-income children with no recourse, suffer," he said.
In addition to the Head Start resolution, the House has passed nine other short-term spending resolutions. They would fund the Washington, D.C., government; national parks; the Department of Veterans Affairs; the National Institutes of Health; the National Guard and reservists; the Women, Infants and Children program; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and the Food and Drug Administration.
The last is the Pay Our Military Act, which ensures payment of the military and their civilian supporters even during the shutdown. While not technically a continuing spending resolution, that is the one bill the Senate did take up and pass, and President Obama signed it into law.