Congress Approves Two-Week Spending Bill, Heads to Trump's Desk


Hardline conservative House Republicans want to break out funding for the military from an overall funding bill so they can increase defense spending, and to get what they want they are willing to support a two-week budget extension that would avoid a government shutdown.

The measure passed mostly along party lines, 235-193, and would keep the government running through December 22.

In addition to a simple date change CR, this resolution provides for a change in the way that the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) emergency shortfall funds are distributed to states until December 31, 2017, so that no state's CHIP funding is depleted during the month of December.

In back-to-back statements, both sides declared the meeting "productive". Pelosi and Schumer left the White House without speaking to reporters.

GOP leaders promised help for immigrants known as Dreamers by their supporters, many of whom have only known America as their home. Pelosi said she's open to accepting the White House's request for a defense increase, but Democrats will insist on "parity" for the other programs.

Negotiations are sure to be tricky.

"We will not leave here without a DACA fix", she said. The spending bill will need 60 votes to clear the Senate, where Republicans hold only 52 seats.

"It's kind of just basic governing, is keeping government going while we negotiate the finer details", Ryan told reporters Thursday morning.

Republican leaders had already postponed a planned House vote on the temporary spending measure until Thursday, buying time to iron out disputes with conservatives.

A government shutdown this weekend would be a potential disaster for Republicans as they race forward with their sweeping tax overhaul, which they hope to complete by Christmas.

A government shutdown would commence after Friday at midnight if Congress doesn't pass a spending bill by then. "Unfortunately, the progress here in Congress is in stark contrast to the rhetoric coming from the White House. I'm asking: what have you done the last eight?" said the Georgia Republican, who is close with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). "There will be zero support on numbers that are too high, regardless of anybody's position on that". A key issue has been whether the $549 billion defense spending cap would be raised by a larger amount than the $516 billion non-defense cap.

The final tally was 235 yes votes, and 193 votes against. That included the White House, where Trump often revels in conflict and unpredictable tactics that members of his own party consider counterproductive.

Ahead of the White House meeting, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats are working in "good faith" toward a year-end deal that meets some of their priorities, including equal boosts in funding for non-defense and defense programs and a measure protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The bill maintains current federal spending levels for two weeks, and includes a provision to ensure that states can continue to fund the popular Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which a year ago provided insurance coverage for almost nine million poor children across the country.

While many Democrats seemed likely to oppose the short-term bill, enough were expected to support it in the Senate to allow its passage there.

While the bill keeps the government running for now, it would set up a pre-Christmas showdown later this month.