To avoid another government shutdown, the House of Representatives passed yet another short-term spending bill on Tuesday, this one to extend the funding deadline to just a few days before Christmas.
In a 231-192 vote, lawmakers in the lower chamber approved a measure that would continue funding the federal government at current levels until December 20, thereby punting four weeks past the looming partial shutdown deadline of midnight Thursday. 12 Republicans voted in favor of the measure, and 10 Democrats voted against it.
News broke Monday that lawmakers had reached a short-term spending agreement after disagreements between Republicans and Democrats over President Donald Trump’s border wall have created an impasse in Congress’ appropriations deliberations for months. Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in an effort to overcome the border security stalemate ahead of the spending deadline. “We have no intention of having a shutdown,” Mnuchin said after the meeting. The current temporary spending measure was signed by President Trump at the end of September.
In a floor speech supporting the measure ahead of the Tuesday vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., blamed Senate inaction as the reason for needing to pass the short-term bill.
“It is a failure. It is not our failure. We did our work on time. … Ten bills went to the United States Senate: Unattended, untouched, unconsidered.” However, Hoyer also said that the prospect of a partial government shutdown starting later this week was “not an acceptable alternative.”
Texas Rep. Kay Granger, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, spoke against the measure, saying, “No business in the world could survive on temporary funding doled out on a month-to-month basis” and called on members of both parties and both chambers “to immediately come together, put politics aside, and work together to reach an agreement for a full-year appropriations measure that the president can sign.”
The measure now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass. During his Monday remarks on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put his support behind the idea of a short term measure, noting that “the president is willing and ready to sign a clean CR through December 20th so that we can finish our work.”
In addition to averting a shutdown, the short-term agreement would also ensure a 3.1 percent military pay raise, as well as full funding for the 2020 census.