You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

House Passes Funding Bill, But Shutdown Still Looms

UPDATED: A Republican effort to avert a government shutdown at midnight on Saturday cleared the House on Thursday, but the votes do not appear to be there yet as the bill heads to the Senate.

The 230-197 vote was on legislation that would extend government funding through Feb. 16. After a procedural vote to open debate, the Senate adjourned at about 10:15 p.m. and will take up the legislation again on Friday. But even that decision stirred division, as Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) objected to leaving for the night.

Democrats dug in their heels to demand that the 30-day funding bill include provisions to protect undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, arguing that Trump has rejected previous immigration proposals that have bipartisan support and that also provide funding for border security.

After the vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan said “it is risky. It is reckless, and it is wrong” for Senate Democrats to block the funding bill.

Senate Democrats say that there is a reason for urgency: The rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is due to take full effect in March. That is because the Trump administration announced last fall that it would be ended, and that it should be left to Congress to pass legislation to address the issue of the 800,000 “dreamers” in the United States. Since then, protesters have been a visible presence on Capitol Hill to press lawmakers to act.

Democrats have some leverage, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs 60 votes for passage.

Those prospects remained uncertain as even Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has been working on bipartisan immigration legislation, said he would not support the House funding bill. He called the 30-day extension of government funding a “fiasco,” and said it was time “Congress stop the cycle of dysfunction, grow up, and act consistent with the values of a great nation.”

With Graham’s no vote along with at least two other Republicans, as well as the expectation that more than 40 Democrats will be opposed, the spending bill would fall far short of votes needed. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) each indicated that they would vote against it.

For much of the day, President Donald Trump and Republican and Democratic congressional leaders pinned the blame on the other for bringing the government to the point of closure. Trump visited the Pentagon and used the occasion to claim that the “worst thing is what happens to our military.” But in the last government shutdown — which lasted 16 days in October 2013 —  federal employees who provided essential services, like national security and the armed forces, were exempt. Congress also took steps to minimize the impact on the Defense Department.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, said “Republicans are dilly dallying, taking their good old time. Maybe they just don’t believe in governance.” She said that the GOP would “own” the shutdown, as they control the House, the Senate, and the White House.

McConnell and other Republicans hammered Democrats for not supporting the  funding bill, as it includes a six-year extension of the children’s health program, also known as CHIP. “Keeping the government running in addition to a six year Children’s Health Insurance Program extension, which gives security to the families of nearly nine million American children who depend on the program for coverage, is commonsense,” McConnell said on Twitter.

As much as children’s health funding is a key Democratic priority, party leaders characterized the move as a brazen political ploy. They got a boost from Jimmy Kimmel, who has spoken out on past congressional action. He sparred with an aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan, and wrote that “using kids’ lives as bargaining chips is disgusting.”

“Republicans are the ones funding CHIP completely and immediately. Democrats are the ones voting no,” said Ryan’s aide, Doug Andres.

During the last shutdown in 2013, government agency workers were furloughed, national parks were closed and federal courts operated on reserve funds.

A shutdown this year could mean a delay in such things as the FCC’s review of the pending merger of Sinclair Broadcast Group with Tribune Media. If government properties are closed, it could affect movie and TV location shoots. The Justice Department’s pending antitrust lawsuit against AT&T and Time Warner also could be impacted. A status hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday.

More Politics

  • Mueller Report Released: Networks Cut the

    Networks Curb Their Enthusiasm, William Barr Flexes as Mueller Report Goes Public

    The run-up to Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the conduct of President Donald Trump suggested it was just one component part of a busy news day, something close to business as usual. And the broadcast — in which Barr stormily defended the President as [...]

  • Mueller Report: Redacted Version of Trump

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Redacted Report Released

    WASHINGTON — Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation leaves open the question of whether President Trump’s conduct rose to the level of obstruction of justice, one of many takeaways after a redacted version of the highly anticipated document was released to the public on Thursday. The report, which you can read here, [...]

  • Attorney General Says Mueller Report Redactions

    Attorney General William Barr Defends Trump, Says Mueller Report Redactions Will Be 'Limited'

    WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr, in a press conference in advance of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, said that the redactions will be limited. But speaking to reporters on Thursday, Barr also offered what amounted to a defense of President Trump’s conduct as Mueller’s investigation unfolded, in what Democrats and other [...]

  • Feu cath'drale Notre Dame de Paris.

    Disney Pledges $5 Million to Help Rebuild Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral

    The Walt Disney Co. has joined a number of other companies in pledging $5 million towards the reconstruction of Notre-Dame, the iconic Paris landmark damaged this week by a massive fire. Disney CEO Bob Iger said the cathedral, which featured in the company’s 1996 animated adaptation of Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” was [...]

  • Tom Zigo MPAA

    Tom Zigo Joins MPAA as Communications Director

    WASHINGTON — Tom Zigo is joining the MPAA as its new communications director. Zigo will report to Chris Ortman, the MPAA’s chief spokesperson and senior vice president of communications. Zigo previously worked for Precision Strategies, the firm that was co-founded by Stephanie Cutter, Jen O’Malley Dillon and Teddy Goff. He worked on strategy for clients [...]

  • President Donald Trump listens to a

    White House Refuses to Turn Over AT&T-Time Warner Records to House Democrats

    WASHINGTON — The White House is refusing to turn over records of communications related to the AT&T-Time Warner merger after House Democrats demanded such information, prompted by New Yorker report that President Trump had ordered advisers to pressure the Justice Department to block the deal. Pat Cipollone, the counsel to the president, wrote that such [...]

  • Pete Buttigieg Show Business Donations

    Ryan Reynolds, James Murdoch Among Pete Buttigieg's Showbiz Donors

    When Pete Buttigieg officially announced his campaign for president over the weekend, more than a few showbiz personalities weighed in to comment on the history being made. Ellen DeGeneres wrote on Twitter, “These words make me very, very happy. ‘My name is @petebuttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete. I am a proud son of South [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content