House passes spending bill to avert a government shutdown

Key Points
  • The House of Representatives passes a stop-gap spending bill to fund the federal government through January 19.
  • The continuing resolution funds the Children's Health Insurance Program until March.
  • The bill also contains a special waiver to allow President Trump to sign the GOP tax bill as early as Friday morning.
House has enough votes to pass government funding bill
House has enough votes to pass government funding bill

The House of Representatives on Thursday voted to advance a short-term spending bill to fund the government through Jan. 19. The final tally was 231 votes in favor, and 188 votes against.

The bill unveiled Thursday morning contains $2.85 billion for the popular Children's Health Insurance Program and $750 million for diabetes programs and community health centers.

The funding measure also extends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act program known as FISA 702, which has been met with opposition from civil libertarians in both parties. An additional $4.7 billion was appropriated to the Department of Defense, to fund ship repair and missile defense programs in the short-term.

The most contentious part of the spending bill is what's called a "pay-go" waiver: A provision to suspend rules that bar the government from enacting expensive new programs, like the GOP tax cuts, unless there is enough money in the current year's budget to pay for them.

If the CR passes the Senate as expected, then the pay-go waiver would mean that President Donald Trump can sign the $1.5 trillion tax bill as early as Friday, instead of having to wait until 2018.

Following the vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan praised his colleagues for "responsibly" voting to fund the government, and said he hoped Democrats would, "return in the new year willing to work with us to complete our work."

The funding bill now advances to the Senate, where it is expected to pass late Thursday.

In addition to the House vote to fund the government, the chamber also passed an $81 billion disaster recovery assistance package aimed at helping Americans impacted by recent hurricanes and wildfires. The Senate, however, is not expected to take up the disaster relief supplemental funding bill until the New Year.

The federal government officially runs out of funding at midnight Friday.