Congress averts government shutdown for 1 week

Posted April 29, 2017

President Donald Trump has signed a short-term, stopgap spending bill keeping the government functioning and avoiding a shutdown on his 100th day in office.

Still, the Senate Democratic leader indicted that Democrats and Republicans are close to reaching a long-term deal that would fund the government through September 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

Though Republicans control both houses of Congress, Democratic votes will be needed to pass a final budget, marking the first time the parties have had to come together on an agreement for major legislation since Trump took office.

Even as lawmakers didn't finish the larger spending bill, Republicans spent much of the week tinkering with their Obamacare plan, hoping to muster enough support to give Trump a legislative win in his first 100 days.

"I'm confident we'll be back here with a bill the American people can be proud of", Cole said. The decision was not because of Democrats' threats but because they didn't have the votes to pass it. Trump wanted to move on to other issues after the March vote was abandoned, but then he made a push for this latest version.

What is President Trump's role, exactly? "We still have a little bit more ways to go, and we still have some poison pill riders that they haven't dropped yet".

However, such fast action on the part of House Republicans looked more improbable by the hour Thursday as GOP leaders failed to pick up new votes from moderates.

Unlike the simmering fights in Congress over healthcare and taxes, in which Republicans are pursuing purely partisan legislation, major spending bills generally need bipartisan support for passage, lending some optimism that the negotiations will end next week without a federal shutdown. Democrats are seeking at least $500 million in new funds to shore up Puerto Rico's Medicaid program.

"There are some people I know who voted for Trump exclusively because he would put a conservative on the court, so they're good", said Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla. Roughly 30 percent of House Democrats in 2009 had been serving when the party had last held both houses and the presidency (1994) along with approximately 57 percent of Democratic senators. Their opposition was a main ingredient in the legislation's collapse a month ago, a humiliating episode for Republicans that called into question their ability to govern given that they've been promising for seven years to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

The new CR was easily passed in the House this morning on a 382-30 vote, with 207 Republicans and 175 Democrats voting in favor of the stopgap.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said earlier that bargainers were "very close" to an agreement.

The changes in the bill would let states escape requirements under Obama's health law that insurers charge healthy and seriously ill people the same rates, and cover a list of specified services like maternity care. In a flurry of tweets, the president claimed Democrats have put up roadblocks in his attempt to rebuild the military, help miners in need of work and healthcare, secure the borders, and keep the government open. The irony there is that the more Republican leadership realizes it will lose conservative votes in its own party, the more it will have to rely on Democrats to avoid a shutdown.