Reports claim that Congress recently passed a stopgap spending bill on Thursday. This bill averted a partial government shutdown at midnight on Friday, although it pushed into January shutdowns on spending, immigration, healthcare, and national security. The stopgap spending bill will ensure federal funding for important government services until January 19, according to the Washington Post.
The bill will also extend funding of the Children's Health Insurance Program, which expired in October, as well as a veterans health care program and a warrantless surveillance program that was expected to expire on January 1.
The bill that averted a possible government shutdown passed the House of Representatives 231 to 188 and then cleared the Senate 66 to 32. Thursday's congressional votes are expected to be the last of 2017, according to the Washington Post.
The Post writes that the votes only came after leaders scrambled on Wednesday and Thursday to make sure that enough votes were cast to keep the government open. Apparently, there was also a notable degree of intraparty squabbling that erupted merely hours after the Republicans passed their historic tax cuts on Wednesday.
But Paul Ryan, the current Speaker of the House, was under pressure from President Trump to prevent a government shutdown before Christmas. As a result, he as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made sure that they had enough votes to prevent the government from shutting down. In the end, President Trump got his way, and funding continued for the most vital services of the federal government.
It is important to note, however, that those who wanted a government shutdown did not advocate for such a move for malicious reasons. Rather, many of them were using the shutdown as an opportunity to address important questions of public policy.
For instance, some Republicans were advocating for an increase in military spending. The Post reports that these advocates for increased spending fumed after the House GOP leaders abandoned a plan to attach a defense bill spending more than $600 billion to warfighters through September. The stopgap spending bill, in contrast, only ensure spending at current levels, aside from a notable $5 billion emergency fund to repair damage to warships and improve America's ballistic missile defense system.
Senate Republican Rand Paul, another defender of shutting down the government, is a fierce advocate of lowering federal spending. In contrast to those who wanted to increase military spending, Paul accused his fellow Republicans of wimping out on promises to slash federal spending.
“We have a spending problem,” Paul said on the Senate floor. “We have rules to keep spending in check, and we disobey our own rules.”
Paul was also critical of the government's continued funding of the blanket surveillance of American citizens, which he claims is a violation of the Bill of Rights.
The LA Times writes that many Democrats were also supportive of a government shut down as a means of addressing important questions of public policy.
According to the Daily Caller, most of the votes to shut down the government came from the Democratic Party, particularly from those who oppose President Trump's immigration efforts.
They write: "Most of the nay votes were from Democrats who are desperate to deal with immigration issues. During a caucus meeting Thursday, Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois criticized Schumer for not caring about the future of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and for 'throwing them under the bus.'"
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who voted not to keep the government open, remarked to the GOP that his party would not vote for anything more than a short-term bill until Congress addressed immigration and wider domestic spending issues.
Here's list of Senators who voted to shut down the government. It was first presented by the Daily Caller.
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Nay Michael Bennet (D-CO), Nay Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Nay Cory Booker (D-NJ), Nay Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Nay Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Nay Ben Cardin (D-MD), Nay Bob Casey (D-PA), Nay Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Nay Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Nay Dick Durbin (D-IL), Nay Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Nay Al Franken (D-MN), Nay Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Nay Kamala Harris (D-CA), Nay Maise Hirono (D-HI), Nay Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay Mike Lee (R-UT), Nay Ed Markey (D-MA), Nay Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Nay Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Nay Chris Murphy (D-CT), Nay Patty Murray (D-WA), Nay Rand Paul (R-KY), Nay Jack Reed (D-RI), Nay Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Nay Brian Schatz (D-HI), Nay Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Nay Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Nay Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Nay Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay Ron Wyden (D-OR), Nay
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