House Passes Stop-Gap Spending Bill, Hoping to Avert a Government Shutdown

House Republicans narrowly passed the short-term spending bill on Thursday night, hoping to avert a government shutdown before Friday, January 19. 

The House narrowly passed the short-term spending bill 230-197. The government will shut down on Friday, January 19 if it does not receive more funding.

The stop-gap spending bill will fund the government through February 16, fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and delay several Obamacare taxes.

The House Freedom Caucus staged a last-minute revolt against Speaker Paul Ryan and the rest of the House Republican leadership because the bill did not address long-term military spending.

The Freedom Caucus also worried that the short-term spending bill would give the Senate more time to continue working on passing a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) illegal amnesty bill. Conservatives want the House to vote on the immigration reform bill sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Raul Labrador (R-ID); the bill would fund a wall on the southern border and end the diversity visa as well as chain migration.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) struck a deal with Speaker Ryan late Thursday night and Meadows called on House conservatives to back the short-term spending bill.

The Freedom Caucus reportedly secured a promise from House Republican leadership to whip for the Goodlatte-Labrador immigration reform bill and also vote within ten days on a bill that will eliminate spending caps on defense spending.

The House Freedom Caucus tweeted on Thursday, “The majority of the @freedomcaucus has taken a vote to support the CR effort this evening.”

The spending bill faces large hurdles to pass through the Senate.

Senate Democrats told Politico on Thursday that they believe that they have the votes to block the bill from passing through Congress’supper chamber.

“I am convinced that between Republicans who publicly said they’re [voting] no and Democrats who said they’re a ‘no,’ there are not enough votes in this chamber,” a Democratic senator told Politico, on the condition of anonymity.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), a member of Senate Republican leadership, said, “I’m concerned that we, yeah, we may not have 60 votes in the Senate. And I think that’s obviously problematic.”

Speaker Ryan chided Senate Democrats for holding up the spending bill in the Senate:

If the Senate Democrats want to shut the government down, if the Senate Democrats want to deny funding for our troops, if the Senate Democrats want to stop funding CHIP for unrelated issues — that’s a choice they would make, I don’t think it’s a good choice for them to make — but that would be their decision to make.

However, many Republican senators oppose the House short-term spending bill in its current form. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) all oppose the bill; Republicans would need over ten Democrat senators to back the bill for it to pass through the Senate.

President Trump said on Thursday that a government shutdown “could happen” and that “It’s up to the Democrats” to avoid it.


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