House Votes to Push Shutdown Deadline to December

House Votes to Push Shutdown Deadline to December

REUTERS/Jason Reed

The House on Tuesday passed a stopgap measure to fund the government through December 20. The Senate is set to take up the bill before current short-term funding expires on Thursday night, and the White House has signaled that President Trump will sign it to avert a potential government shutdown.

The 231-192 vote in the House fell largely along party lines, with some Republicans who voted against the continuing resolution expressing concerns about the harmful effects of repeated stopgap bills on the military. "Once again, our servicemembers are being held hostage by political games,” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said. “Every CR is wasteful and damages the ability of our military to carry out their vital missions."

The stopgap measure was necessary because appropriators have failed to make substantial progress on 12 required full-year funding bills, largely as a result of partisan differences over Trump’s demand for $5 billion in border-wall funding. “This is an admission of failure, it’s a recognition of failure,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said, according to The Washington Post. “The alternative is shutting down government on midnight of the 21st. That’s not an acceptable alternative.”

The bottom line: Appropriators now have another month to try to iron out their differences on wall funding. But recent optimism that they could reach an agreement before Thanksgiving on how to allocate funding across agencies has largely vanished, with little indication that the two sides can reach any compromise. The state of negotiations leaves open the possibility of a shutdown just before Christmas, even as lawmakers in both parties want to avoid a full-year stopgap that would fund the government at current levels, wiping out budget increases Congress agreed to over the summer.