Lawmakers are set to buy themselves two more weeks to negotiate the thorny questions on military and domestic spending, immigration and health care, as the House on Thursday narrowly passed legislation to fund the government for two more weeks and avoid a shutdown.
The House voted 235 to 193, with 18 Republicans voting against the bill to fund the government and 14 Democrats supporting the legislation. The Senate is expected to move to pass the bill Thursday night, barely ahead of the Saturday deadline by which the government runs out of money.
The passage of the temporary spending measure tees up a two-week dash where multiple, high-profile concerns will be under consideration.
Democrats, whose votes will be needed to pass any longer-term spending bill, say they plan to insist that any deal include a permanent replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama-era program protecting certain young immigrants from deportation, that President Donald Trump canceled earlier this year.
Republicans want to increase funding for the Pentagon, while Democrats will demand any boost in military spending be matched in the non-defense budget, dollar-for-dollar. They must also reauthorize the state Childhood Health Insurance Program, which expired on Oct. 1.
At a meeting at the White House with Trump, congressional leaders expressed optimism that those issues could be resolved with time to spare before Christmas.
“We are all here as a very friendly, well-unified group,” Trump told reporters before the meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“We’re in the spirit of, ‘Let’s get it done,'” Schumer said.