House votes to end overnight government shutdown, passes bipartisan budget bill

WASHINGTON- The House of Representatives early Friday morning voted to end a brief government shutdown following passage of a bipartisan budget bill that raises spending caps for two years and funds the government through March 23, 2018.

The lower chamber approved the legislation in a 240-186 vote.

Seventy-three Democrats backed the measure. Sixty-seven Republicans opposed it.

Government funding lapsed just after midnight on Thursday evening after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blocked a vote on the legislation. The upper chamber approved the measure around 1:30 a.m.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 lifts defense sequestration caps the Obama administration placed on the Pentagon. It increases both defense and domestic spending by $300 billion through 2020.

The legislation provides funding to combat opioid addiction. It contains $89 billion in disaster relief aid for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas and Florida.

The legislation suspends the government’s borrowing limit through March 2019. It reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for an additional four years. (In December the program was reauthorized for six years).

The bill now heads to the president’s desk.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) praised the legislation following passage.

“This is a great victory for our men and women in uniform. Republicans and Democrats joined together to finally give our troops the resources they need and our generals the certainty to plan for the future,” he said in a statement. “Our national defense will no longer be held hostage by short-term spending bills and reckless sequester caps. And we ended the destructive Obama-era practice of tying increases in defense spending to non-defense spending.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the legislation is illustrative of Republican inability to govern.

“Tonight, Republicans are celebrating the passage of their fifth stop-gap, short term Continuing Resolution on the heels of their second shutdown in a month — continuing government by dysfunction,” she said in a statement.

Pelosi voted against the legislation because it does not include protections for the more than 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The program expires on March 5.

Pelosi sought an assurance from Ryan that DACA legislation would be given floor time next week as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has agreed to do in the upper chamber.

Ryan told reporters Thursday that the House is committed to addressing DACA but that the timeframe is unlikely to correlate with that of the Senate.

Pelosi in her statement said: “The fight in the House to protect Dreamers is not over.  I’m greatly disappointed that the Speaker does not have the courage to lift the shadow of fear from the lives of these inspiring young people.”

This article is republished with permission from Talk Media News