The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 20th. The bill passed 231-192. The House was forced to pass the resolution before a government shutdown on Wednesday, although a final budget has yet to be approved.
Republicans and Democrats have continually come to a stand still on funding for President Donald Trump's proposed $5 million border wall as well as whether or not to reauthorize several government bills, including the Patriot Act, which gives the government the ability to access millions of Americans' conversation records and text message data as part of terrorism investigations.
Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) said the stopgap bill allows both sides to come to the table to continue negotiations on how to spend funds.
“This CR will allow additional time to negotiate and enact responsible, long-term funding for priorities that make our country safer and stronger and give working families a better chance at a better life,” Lowey said.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Lowey have utilized the same negotiation strategy: fund other liabilities and expenditures before making a decision on the border wall.
Progressive members of the Squad – Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) – however, urged their fellow Democrats to vote against the continuing resolution.
"I cannot in good conscience vote in favor of a CR that reauthorizes unconstitutional mass surveillance authorities, especially under a President who has retweeted images of his opponents jailed and suggests anyone who disagrees with him is a criminal," Tlaib said in a statement to The Hill. "I believe that reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act poses such a grave threat to Americans, especially people of color, that I led a letter to the House Judiciary Committee opposing its reauthorization before robust, progressive reforms were made to prevent the continued misuse of its broad and intrusive reach."
According to Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Congress needs to pass a budget for fiscal year 2020, which began October 1.
“Failing to secure funding for the federal government before the end of the year is not an option,” McConnell said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said the border wall is holding up the entire budget.
“The wall I think is the major impediment. But that’s only one bill: the Department of Homeland Security,” Hoyer said. "But it ought not to adversely affect the other 11 bills. They’re being held hostage, essentially."
The last government shutdown, just before Christmas 2018, lasted 35 days and was about the border wall.
Although the stopgap bill was passed, 10 Democrats voted against it.