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Democrats Come Around on Stopgap Spending Bill

Minority party coalesces to support government funding

House Democrats coalesced at the last minute to vote with Republicans on a one-week stop gap spending measure that will keep the government open one more week. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
House Democrats coalesced at the last minute to vote with Republicans on a one-week stop gap spending measure that will keep the government open one more week. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats backed off threats to oppose a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded, allowing the chamber to overwhelmingly pass the measure as Congress faces a midnight deadline to keep money flowing to the government.

The continuing resolution that would fund the government until May 5 passed the chamber 382-30. Lawmakers expect to introduce and pass a spending measure next week that would keep the government running until the end of the fiscal year September 30.

The spending debate came up just as Republicans started whipping votes on a bill that aims to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law — but some are suggesting more changes to come.

Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer on Thursday threatened to not support the one-week continuing resolution when it came for a vote Friday if Republicans scheduled the health care bill for a vote this week as well. 

When it was clear the House GOP did not have enough support to pass the health care bill, they pushed off consideration of the proposal.

In the end, Hoyer and a host of other Democrats voted in favor of the one-week stopgap spending measure while lawmakers continue to hash out long-term negotiations. Only 14 Democrats voted “no,” joining 16 Republicans who did so. Eighteen members did not vote. 

The measure then passed the Senate by a voice vote shortly after it cleared the House and will now go to the president’s desk.

Hoyer expressed his support for a package of spending bills expected next week that would keep the government running until the end of the fiscal year even if Republicans continue to work to bring a health care bill to the floor.

What he would not support, Hoyer said, was a second effort at a short-term CR. Hoyer said GOP leadership was prepared to post and pass a measure to fully fund the government by the new May 5 deadline.

“If they don’t get to that, we won’t vote for another CR,” Hoyer said. “Not because we want to shut down the government but because we believe that they cannot continue to operate on a sporadic basis.”

Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriter

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