No government shutdown for now.
About an hour after the House backed the measure, the Senate voted 81-14 for a spending bill to keep the government open until 22 December. The bill passed the House mostly along party lines, 235-193. It now heads to President Donald Trump for his expected signature.
The two-week spending bill provides funds to government agencies, from the defense department to the IRS, and makes money available to several states that are running out of funds for the children’s health insurance program. That widely popular program provides medical care to more than 8 million children.
The vote came as Trump and top congressional leaders in both parties huddled to discuss a range of unfinished bipartisan business on Capitol Hill, including the budget, a key children’s health program and aid to hurricane-slammed Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida – and, for Democrats and many Republicans, protections for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.
“We are here to make progress. We have some important issues that we share with you,” the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, told Trump at the White House, ticking off issues including the opioid crisis, funding for veterans and an expired children’s health insurance program. “All things that have bipartisan support in the Congress.”
Trump replied, “That’s very true.”
Those negotiations are sure to be tricky. Pelosi staked out a hard line on Thursday and insisted that any year-end deal would include help for “Dreamer” immigrants, many of whom have only known America as their home. 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.
Pelosi told reporters before the meeting that “We will not leave here” without helping the immigrants. Her stance was noteworthy because GOP leaders are likely to require Democratic votes for the pre-Christmas spending bill.
Pelosi returned from the White House to oppose Thursday’s stopgap bill. Fourteen Democrats supported the measure, however, while 18 Republicans were opposed.
Among Republicans, the conservative House Freedom Caucus had resisted the pending stopgap measure earlier in the week, fearing it would lead to a bad deal for conservatives down the road. But on Thursday, the group’s chairman, Mark Meadows, said the group would probably give leaders whatever support they need to pass the legislation.
Meadows said they would help it pass to avoid distractions from the GOP drive to push their treasured $1.5tn tax bill through Congress this month.