The House passed a bill that would keep the government open for two weeks beyond Friday’s shutdown deadline on a vote of 235 to 193.
The bill passed Thursday after House Speaker Paul Ryan quelled a rebellion among some conservatives who wanted a longer stopgap bill as part of a strategy to avoid giving concessions to Democrats on spending.
The short-term spending measure, H.J.Res. 123, now heads to the Senate where it is expected to pass as soon as Thursday night, before the midnight Friday deadline. In that chamber it will need Democratic support to meet the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. Democratic leaders indicated they won’t seek to block the short-term spending, leaving the hard bargaining for later.
The House vote followed a meeting between top congressional leaders and President Donald Trump at the White House to negotiate a longer-term budget agreement that could raise military and non-defense spending above caps put into place following the 2011 standoff over raising the debt ceiling.
“We hope that we’re going to make some great progress for our country,” Trump said in opening the Oval Office meeting.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said after returning to the Capitol that while an agreement on spending limits wasn’t reached, “We agreed that we want to resolve all of these issues in the next couple of weeks.”
If Trump and the lawmakers can agree on overall budget limits, one option would be to put that into a second short-term spending bill to keep the government open from Dec. 22 into sometime in January. That stopgap measure could be combined with legislation shoring up Obamacare insurance markets and extending a children’s health insurance program.
‘The Same Play’
Republican Representative Paul Gosar, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said before the vote that he fears the Dec. 22 deadline will force Republicans into too many concessions to Democrats on spending and policy.
“I’m tired of seeing the same play again and again,” he said.
Under the original plan, Congress in January would hash out the remaining details of a trillion-dollar spending bill for the rest of the fiscal year. Lawmakers also are likely to take up raising the nation’s debt limit at the same time.