The House of Representatives passed an interim spending bill on Thursday in an effort to avoid a government shutdown. Without the spending bill, the government would have shut down at the end of the month.
The bill funds the government at its current spending level through November 21. The bill was passed 301-123. Only three Democrats did not support the bill.
The bill still has to pass the Senate, but they are expected to vote on it next week. They are expected to pass it, as they usually do with temporary budget bills.
The House bill extends funding for some expiring federal programs and it also helps funds Trump’s bailout for American farmers. That bailout was created to help farmers who are hurt by the current trade war between the United States and China.
Even with the bill passed, lawmakers would still need to negotiate the details of and approve a $1.4 trillion budget for federal agencies by the end of November.
Lawmakers passing temporary spending bills is nothing new. We live in a time of such out of control spending that a balanced budget is something most of us will likely never see in our lifetimes.
It’s difficult to see how an actual spending bill can be hammered out before the end of the year as Democrats have pushed back against defense spending and the border wall, and Republicans have attempted to reign in funding for social programs.
Senate Democrats on Wednesday even blocked Republicans from advancing an appropriations bill that included $693 billion in defense spending for 2020. That appropriations package earned a 51-44 vote. It needed 60 votes to move forward. Its failure is partly what put pressure on Congress to come up with a temporary solution to keep the government running.
“In a world this dangerous, uncertain funding and continuing resolutions will not cut it for our national defense,” McConnell said after the appropriations bill failed to move forward. “Our men and women in uniform do not deserve to have the funding for their tools, their training, and their own pay raises used as leverage by Senate Democrats to try and extract concessions from the White House.”
This is all also despite Congress passing a bipartisan $2.7 trillion budget deal in July that set funding levels for defense and non-military programs. Lawmakers have been unable to negotiate the details on that spending bill.
President Trump also moving $3.6 million in defense spending to his border wall earlier this month also complicates matters, especially for Democrats unwilling to budge on spending for the wall and defense.
Democrats have used Trump shifting funding to the border wall as an excuse to not budge on spending.
“Somehow in the wake of all this, the Republican leader has been accusing Democrats of threatening to block military funding,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in response to McConnell’s accusations of Democrats not passing the Senate appropriations bill.
“That is an absurd statement if there ever was one,” Schumer continued. “We’re simply trying to stop Republicans from stealing the money from our military and putting it into the wall which [Trump] said Mexico would pay for.”
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