Congress passed short-term spending bill Thursday that would avoid a government shutdown—for now. The two-week stopgap spending measure was passed by the House 235-193 and the Senate 81-14 and heads to President Trump’s desk ahead of Friday’s midnight deadline to fund the government. President Trump is expected to sign the measure, so perhaps he won’t for no apparent reason. The measure gives both sides some breathing room to agree on overall 2018 spending levels, but sets the new deadline at Dec. 22nd, the Friday before Christmas.
From the Washington Post:
Republicans have majorities in both chambers of Congress, but they cannot pass spending bills alone. In the Senate, a 60-vote supermajority is required to pass most major legislation, and Republicans control 52 seats. That means negotiating with Democrats, who have pushed to maintain their own domestic spending priorities, as well as policy initiatives on immigration, health care and more.
The main source of the Democrats’ leverage, however, is the GOP desire to hike military spending to more than $600 billion in 2018. Under a 10-year budget deal struck in 2011, Congress may appropriate a maximum of $549 billion for defense programs and $516 billion for nondefense programs next year. Republican leaders have floated a $54 billion boost in defense next year and a $37 billion boost in nondefense spending; Democrats have thus far demanded equivalent increases for both…
[Conservatives] want to provoke a confrontation with Democrats and break a cycle of bipartisan deals that has led both military and nondefense discretionary spending to rise in lockstep. They are also wary of a year-end spending bill becoming a legislative “Christmas tree” that could include relief for dreamers and other Democratic priorities.
Giving Democratic lawmakers perhaps a bit more leverage is that fact that a government shutdown would minimally delay the Republican tax overhaul, which could mean the Trump administration would go through the first year of his presidency without any significant legislation to speak of.
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