The House Thursday night passed a stopgap government funding measure in a 217-185 vote that includes $5.7 billion for a border wall President Trump is requesting.
The bill will be handed to the Senate on Friday and is expected to be dead on arrival, raising the potential over a shutdown to occur Friday at midnight. 60 votes in the Senate are needed to advance an appropriations bill to a final vote. Republican senators would need 9 Senate Democrat votes to make it over the threshold, an impossible scheme since all 49 Democrats are against funding the wall.
Eight House Republicans joined all 177 Democrats in voting against the measure that was approved by voice vote. The bill includes $7.81 billion in disaster funds through the rest of the fiscal year in the aftermath of widespread wildfires and Hurricanes Michael and Florence in addition to $5 billion in new money for the border wall for the rest of the fiscal year but to remain available until September 30, 2023.
If the Senate rejects the new House stopgap measure, the House GOP viable options is to either pass the spending bill that doesn’t include the $5 billion border wall funding already passed by the Senate Wednesday night or let the partial government shut down, something President Trump is willing to let happen if the spending bill didn’t include border security funding.
“Any measure that funds the government has to include border security — not for political purposes, but for our country,” Trump said.
Late Wednesday, the Senate passed by voice vote a measure that included only $1.6 billion for border security with no funding for a border wall and would fund much of the government through February 8, 2019.
Trump met with House GOP leaders and House Freedom Caucus members earlier Thursday afternoon at the White House, where he told lawmakers he wasn’t on board with the senate measure passed on Wednesday.
“I’ve made my position very clear: any measure that funds the government must include border security,” Trump told reporters at a White House event on Thursday. “I am asking Congress to defend the border of our nation. Walls work, whether we like it or not.”
Trump added: “I look forward to signing a bill that fulfills our fundamental duty to the American people … we’ll see what we can do.”
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, whose leaders had pushed the hardest for Trump to stand his ground on the wall issue issued a statement shortly after the vote asking the Senate to follow the House lead.
“Republicans in Congress have continually told the American people that we would fight for wall funding, and today the House of Representatives took its first step toward fulfilling that promise,” the statement reads. “The Senate must follow our lead. It’s time we do what we said and work with President Trump and the American people to secure our borders.”
On Twitter, President Trump congratulated House Republicans for voting to fund border security.
Thank you to our GREAT Republican Members of Congress for your VOTE to fund Border Security and the Wall. The final numbers were 217-185 and many have said that the enthusiasm was greater than they have ever seen before. So proud of you all. Now on to the Senate!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
In a subsequent tweet, Trump took a shot at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who he said had claimed that “Republicans didn’t have the votes for Border Security.”
Soon to be Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, last week live from the Oval Office, that the Republicans didn’t have the votes for Border Security. Today the House Republicans voted and won, 217-185. Nancy does not have to apologize. All I want is GREAT BORDER SECURITY!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
Democratic leaders were in disbelief after the House passed the measure to fund a border wall. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said such measure passed by the House caused by “Trump temper tantrum” will produce a government shutdown.
“Today’s events have made one thing clear: President Trump is plunging the country into chaos,” Schumer said. “The Trump temper tantrum may produce a government shutdown. It will not get him his wall. Donald Trump wants a shutdown and [Republicans] seem to be so afraid that they’re going to go along. We’ll see.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the measure a “shameful bill that is unworthy of this House of Representatives and certainly of the American people.”
Congress must come to an agreement on a spending bill by Friday night, or parts of the federal government will shut down on Saturday. The government faces a partial shutdown at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday when seven spending bills expire. If the government shuts down, this will mark the third time in this year the government has shut down partially.
Trump is scheduled to leave Washington for a two week vacation to Mar-a-Lago, but now will remain in the capital if a shutdown occurs. If such shutdown occurs and last until the new year, House Democrats, who will take over the majority starting January 3rd will have to come up with a new deal with the GOP controlled Senate and the president on reopening the government.