With less than 36 hours to go before a possible government shutdown, the House on Thursday night approved a stopgap measure to keep the government open. In the Senate, however, the Democrats are threatening to block the GOP bill.
The final vote was 230-197, with six Democrats voting for the measure and 11 Republicans voting against it, according to a report in The Hill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) adjourned the Senate until 11 a.m. Friday without scheduling a vote on the House measure, giving lawmakers just 13 hours to reach a deal to avert a shutdown.
A Senate vote to advance the House funding bill is expected to fail with Democrats and some Republicans lining up against the measure. McConnell needs 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster and pass a bill to avert a shutdown, which would begin Friday night at midnight.
While the procedural vote is expected to be approved, a follow-up procedural motion to move the bill to a final up-or-down vote will likely fail and may not even get a simple majority, since several Republicans have already expressed their opposition.
The result is that Senate negotiators must come up with a deal before 11:59 pm Friday to avoid a government shutdown.
House GOP leaders found enough votes to pass their measure over Democratic opposition after a deal was reached with conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus, who had threatened to oppose the bill throughout Thursday.
According to the Hill, the group’s chairman, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), secured an agreement with GOP leaders to consider military spending within 10 legislative days.
While most GOP defense hawks said they would vote to avert a shutdown with repeated short-term bills to fund the military, nearly all Democrats refused to support the legislation, which would extend funding through Feb. 16, in the absence of a solution to protect young immigrants known as “Dreamers.”
They’re insisting that lawmakers find a way to protect the Dreamers sooner rather than later before agreeing to a budget deal that would pave the way for a long-term government spending plan.
The inclusion of a six-year extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which expired at the end of September, was thought to be a way of sweetening the pot for Democrats, but it did little to sway them.
Republicans on Thursday were continuing to warn Democrats they would be blamed for holding up the health-care funding and money for the military if they block the House bill.
“I think it’s unconscionable that Democrats would walk away from CHIP, from funding our military, for something that is not a deadline,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said.
If the bill ultimately becomes law, it would be the fourth temporary funding patch since the fiscal year began.
The risk of a shutdown increases by the hour.
As Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who represents a Northern Virginia district with thousands of federal workers, said, a resolution “gets harder, not easier, with time.”
“I think every minute that goes by right now without a resolution, it’s dangerous. Because there are more and more reasons to vote ‘no,’ there are more and more demands put on it, factions start to really gel,” Connolly said.