Congress Passes Short-Term Spending Bill

Congress on Thursday approved a two-week funding bill, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown one day ahead of the deadline, Politico reported. Senators approved the measure on a 81-14 vote, soon after the House passed it 235-193.

The short-term measure, effective through December 22, allows lawmakers more time to engage in additional heated debates over a broader budget deal. The negotiations will likely focus on issues related to domestic spending, military funding, and immigration—more specifically, a legislative fix for the recently rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

President Donald Trump met with congressional leaders—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)—at the White House on Thursday afternoon in a bid to jump-start negotiations over a two-year budget deal.

Republicans have majorities in both chambers of Congress, but they cannot pass spending bills alone, The Washington Post reported. In the Senate, a 60-vote supermajority is required to pass most major legislation, and Republicans control 52 seats. Therefore, lawmakers will need to reach a compromise on spending priorities in order to pass a broader funding bill.

House Appropriations Committee Republicans on Wednesday night unveiled a proposal that would fund the Pentagon for all of fiscal 2018 alongside a continuing resolution that would extend non-defense appropriations at current levels through January 19, The Washington Post reported.

It does not include emergency aid for hurricane- and wildfire-ravaged states and territories. Some Republicans warn that could cost votes when the "CRomnibus" measure reaches the floor, likely early next week. 

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has already dismissed the idea, and many lawmakers predict the Senate will quickly send an amended, bipartisan measure back to the House, the Post reported.


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