House Passes Short-Term Spending Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a short-term spending bill to keep the government funded through mid-January and avoid a partial shutdown looming at week's end.

The vote was 231 to 188, largely along party lines.

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The measure now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass later Thursday or early Friday, before the government's current funding expires at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.

Although the bill will keep the government funded for less than a month, its passage marked a surprising victory for House GOP leaders, who often struggle to pass spending bills without significant Democratic support.

In the vote, 217 House Republicans and 14 Democrats supported the bill, while 16 Republicans and 172 Democrats opposed it.

"The fact that we got tax reform done makes this vote much easier," said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R., N.C.), chief deputy whip of House Republicans. Normally "it is difficult for us to pass a plain vanilla item or the most conservative" bill just with GOP votes, he said.

House Republicans this month passed a two-week spending bill with GOP support, although some Democrats ended up voting for it as well. For a group that often splits over its strategy, the spending bills marked a rare moment of cohesion within the House GOP.

"We move in all different directions," said Rep. Roger Williams (R., Texas) "We're like an aquarium, we're swimming everywhere."

Some House Republicans had grumbled at the change in plans Wednesday, after GOP leaders dropped a proposal to fund the military through the full fiscal year, which ends in September. That plan stood no chance of passing the Senate, where Democrats, whose votes are needed to pass spending bills, demanded that military and domestic spending be extended for the same duration.

President Donald Trump weighed in Thursday morning, urging House Republicans to go along with the stopgap spending bill, or continuing resolution, known as a CR.

"House Democrats want a SHUTDOWN for the holidays in order to distract from the very popular, just passed, Tax Cuts," Mr. Trump said on Twitter. "House Republicans, don't let this happen. Pass the C.R. TODAY and keep our Government OPEN!"

In the Senate, Democrats have signaled they are interested in keeping the government running. In particular, Senate Democratic leaders haven't moved to use the spending bill as leverage on immigration.

Immigration activists and some rank-and-file Democrats in both chambers wanted to withhold support for the spending bill unless it contained protections for so-called Dreamers, young people living in the U.S. illegally who were brought here as children.

--Byron Tau contributed to this article.

Write to Kristina Peterson at kristina.peterson@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 21, 2017 17:33 ET (22:33 GMT)