UPDATE: Congress passes stopgap measure to fund government for another week

UPDATE — 2:00 p.m. EDT: In back-to-back votes Friday, both houses of Congress passed a short-term spending bill which will fund the federal government through next Friday.

Congress is expected in the coming week to work through legislation which will appropriate public funds until the end of fiscal year 2017, which ends Sept. 30.

Republican lawmakers and President Trump have sought to attach provisions to the so-called omnibus bill which would provide funds to build a southern border wall and eliminate Obamacare subsidies for financially-strapped American citizens, but so far Democrats have successfully staved-off those efforts.

“Not all the poison pill riders have been eliminated, some have. A good number have,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “We’re willing to extend things for a little bit more time in hopes that the same kind of progress can continue to be made, but we still have a little bit of a ways to go.”

 

The U.S. House is expected to vote on a one-week stopgap spending measure Friday that will fund the federal government until May 5.

The bill, specifically as a continuing resolution or CR, looked to be in trouble after Republican leadership flirted with the idea of putting an Obamacare repeal up for a vote by Saturday, but backed down after Democrats threatened to torpedo the funding measure.

The short-term spending bill will act as a patch until Congress can agree on a bill to fund the government through September. If no CR is passed, however, the federal government will shutdown at midnight on Friday.

Both Republicans and Democrats had appeared to be close to reconciling differences and agreeing on a resolution that would fund the government until the end of the 2017 fiscal year. As negotiations were wrapping up, however, President Trump threw a wrench in the plans.

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the president wanted appropriations to include funding for a wall on the Mexican-U.S. border. Democrats vehemently opposed and Republicans, unable to pass the measure on their own, subsequently agreed to drop the request.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) placed the blame for the spending bill delay directly on Trump.

“Unfortunately the president stood in the way for quite a long time,” Schumer said. “That’s why we’re a little delayed.”

It appears that both parties would like to avoid a shutdown of the government, and it is likely stopgap bill will be passed later Friday. AshLee Strong, spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), reassured fears, while pointedly placing blame on the Democrats.

“We do not believe they will shut the government down over a one-week CR,” Strong said.

While the federal government is expected to be funded through next Friday, questions of a potential shutdown linger, and will most likely be only postponed until next week.

 

[Washington Post] [AP] [Politico] [CNN]