Shutdown Averted? House Passes Stopgap Funding Measure, Off To The Senate

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Posted: Dec 21, 2017 5:07 PM
Shutdown Averted? House Passes Stopgap Funding Measure, Off To The Senate

While the media, Democrats, Republicans, and President Trump were either preaching doomsday or basking in the afterglow of sweet victory, a government shutdown was looming. The two-week continuing resolution passed earlier this month was set to expire Friday at midnight. The government is funded through January 19 but has a few riders concerning disaster relief, defense, and reauthorizes the Foreign intelligence Surveillance Act. Children’s Health Insurance Program has also been reauthorized through March 31. Roll Call has more:

House Republicans took the first step Thursday toward avoiding a partial shutdown when they passed a stopgap measure to fund the government through Jan. 19.

The chamber voted in favor of a continuing resolution, 231-188, sending the measure to the Senate where it’s expected to pass later Thursday or early Friday. Without the stopgap — the third such measure deployed for fiscal 2018 — funding would expire at midnight Friday.

The House also passed an $81 billion disaster supplemental to provide continued relief to states and U.S. territories impacted by hurricanes and wildfires. But in the Senate Democrats raised concerns about the measure and suggested they might not vote for it, which would push the supplemental to January.

The CR through Jan. 19 is not a “clean” spending bill in that it includes several attachments. It reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act through the same date, funds the Children’s Health Insurance Program and community health centers through March 31 and appropriates $2.1 billion for a private care access program for veterans known as the Veterans Choice Program.

The measure also includes defense anomalies — $4 billion for missile defense and $700 million for Navy ship repairs — to get around the sequestration spending cap. A provision to waive the statutory pay-as-you-go rule on the tax overhaul bill to avoid sharp automatic cuts to mandatory spending programs was also added to the CR.

Even if it was clean, Democrats signaled that they weren’t going to vote for more spending bills until the GOP gets serious the issue mentioned above.  It seems like they did, and added an $81 billion disaster relief rider, but Democrats didn’t lift a finger to help their Republican counterparts pass this spending bill. It seems their intransigence had a unifying effect.

“In a sense, I think the Democrats not being willing to vote for it has certainly helped us bring everybody together,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK). So, it seems Democrats are a party that votes against middle class tax relief and for keeping the government open. 

As the measure heads into the Senate, Politico reports that the disaster provision might not make it due to Democratic opposition.