Congress averts government shutdown... for now


The House passed the bill mostly along party lines in the 235-193 vote. But GOP leaders needed those conservatives to support the measure in the House because Democrats broadly refused to vote for it.

The bill will go to the President's desk, where he is expected to sign it.

The House on Thursday passed a two-week stopgap spending bill one day before a deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

Byrne said that he'd be willing to include other bipartisan pieces of legislation with the defense bill, such as disaster aid funding or an extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Those negotiations are sure to be tricky. Democrats are seeking more funding for domestic priorities and permanent legal status for undocumented immigrants brought to the children.

The immigrants are viewed sympathetically by the public and most lawmakers but face deportation in a few months because Trump reversed administrative protections provided to them by former President Barack Obama.

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., who chairs the 150-plus member Republican Study Committee, had been pushing for a spending bill that would provide funding through the end of the year. The spending bill will need 60 votes to clear the Senate, where Republicans hold only 52 seats.

Without support from their own conservatives, House GOP leaders would need backing from Democrats to push a temporary measure through the chamber.

Freedom Caucus member Dave Brat, a Virginia Republican, told reporters he could vote for a December 22 stopgap if he got assurances of a defense spending increase later.

The Democratic surrender was exposed in the Democratic leaders' explanation for why they want their members to vote against the GOP short-term budget extension, dubbed the "CR" for "Continuing Resolution".

Behind the scenes, top Democrats and Republicans are preparing for a Thursday negotiating session with Trump over a long-term budget deal.

But Trump unexpectedly tossed a political hand grenade into the mix when he told reporters that a shutdown "could happen" and blamed Democrats.

Trump said Thursday that he hopes the group will make good progress as they prepare to discuss plans to avert a government shutdown and reach an end-of-year budget agreement. "They want to have illegal immigrants, in many cases people that we don't want in our country, they want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime".

This time, the White House smoothed the waters by following up with a more peaceable, written statement. That widely popular program provides medical care to more than 8 million children.

The bill maintains current federal spending levels for two weeks, and includes a provision to ensure that states can continue to fund the popular Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which past year provided insurance coverage for almost nine million poor children across the country.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer say nothing specific was agreed to.

While many Democrats seemed likely to oppose the short-term bill, enough were expected to support it in the Senate to allow its passage there.

Democrats promise to us their leverage to insist on spending boosts for health care, infrastructure and other domestic programs that would match increases Republicans want for defense.