Congress votes to avoid shutdown
Stopgap spending bill funds government until Dec. 22
WASHINGTON — Congress on Thursday passed a stopgap spending bill to prevent a government shutdown this weekend and to buy time for challenging talks on a wide range of unfinished business on Capitol Hill. The shutdown reprieve came as both sides issued optimistic takes on an afternoon White House meeting between top congressional leaders and President Donald Trump.
The measure passed the House 235-193, mostly along party lines, and breezed through the Senate 81-14 tally barely an hour later. It would keep the government running through Dec. 22, when another, and more difficult, shutdown problem awaits.
The bill now heads to Trump for his signature.
New Mexico’s Democratic Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Luján voted against the stopgap spending measure.
Rep. Steve Pearce, the only Republican in the New Mexico delegation, voted for the bill.
In the Senate, Democratic Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall of New Mexico voted for the measure.
“Congress has the responsibility to fund the government, and I could not sit here in Washington today and vote to shut it down,” Pearce said. “However, my decision to support a two-week spending extension was not an easy one to make. Continuing to pass short-term, patchwork spending bills does nothing to support our military, national research facilities, or provide the certainty that American businesses need and deserve. As a government, we failed to complete a core responsibility.”
Topics at the White House session included relief from a budget freeze on the Pentagon and domestic agencies, extending a key children’s health program and aid to hurricane-slammed Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida.
The trickiest topic, and a top priority for Democrats, involves protections for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Trump reversed administrative protections provided to them by former President Barack Obama under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.