Congress narrowly avoids government shutdown, delays deadline 2 weeks

  • Congress passed a bill to extend government funding for two weeks, extending the fight over a government shutdown.
  • The bill will move the shutdown deadline back two weeks – from Friday night to December 22.
  • The bill made it through the House on a close vote and was almost immediately passed by the Senate.

Congress voted Thursday to pass a bill that would extend government funding by two weeks, avoiding a partial government shutdown on Friday pending signature by the president.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 235 to 193. Fourteen Democrats voted for the measure backed by the GOP leadership and 18 Republicans defecting from their party. The bill would extend government funding through December 22.

The bill was then taken up by the Senate less than an hour later and passed handily, with many Democrats supporting the bill.

There was some concern that it could fail in the House after members of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus made demands for the spending bill, including extending the short-term deadline to December 30 and increased defence spending.

Leaders of the Freedom Caucus met with House Speaker Paul Ryan repeatedly over the past three days to come to an agreement. Rep. Mark Meadows, the chair of the Freedom Caucus, ended up voting for the bill along with many of the members.

This sets up the real shutdown fight will begins as each party will attempt to include legislative priorities in the next funding bill.

Democrats are pushing for a codification of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigrant program and an Obamacare stabilisation measure. Republicans want to include funding for border security and a large increase in military spending.

Leaders from both parties met with President Donald Trump on Thursday to start these negotiations after a similar meeting was canceled last week. Previously, Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi backed out due to a tweet from Trump attacking the pair for their shutdown bill requests.

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