House passes bills to re­open agri­cul­ture, trans­porta­tion de­part­ments

The Punch - - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS -

THE House passed two spend­ing bills Thurs­day to re­open shut­tered parts of the govern­ment that ad­dress pub­lic health, agri­cul­ture, food stamps and hous­ing, though the bills have an im­prob­a­ble fate in the Se­nate and the threat of a pres­i­den­tial veto.

CNN re­ported that the leg­is­la­tion was the sec­ond of four ap­pro­pri­a­tions bills Democrats are bring­ing to the House floor this week to keep the spot­light on the par­tial govern­ment shut­down, now in its third week. Each bill aims to re­open shut­tered parts of govern­ment, piece by piece, as the stand­off con­tin­ues be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and con­gres­sional Democrats over bor­der wall funds.

Twelve Repub­li­cans joined with Democrats to pass the first bill Thurs­day, which aims to re­open the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and the Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment. The vote was 244-180.

The House also passed a bill, 243-183, to re­open the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture — which runs the Sup­ple­men­tal Nutri­tion As­sis­tance Pro­gram, com­monly known as SNAP or food stamps — as well as the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion. De­spite the lapse in fund­ing, the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture will con­tinue pro­vid­ing food stamps to mil­lions of Amer­i­cans through Fe­bru­ary, Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Sonny Per­due an­nounced Tues­day.

On that vote,10 Repub­li­cans sided with Democrats. The leg­is­la­tion got slightly more Repub­li­can sup­port than a sep­a­rate spend­ing bill Wed­nes­day to re­open the Trea­sury Depart­ment and the IRS, which had eight Repub­li­cans sup­port it.

Still, the vast ma­jor­ity of the GOP con­fer­ence ob­jects to the strat­egy, many of them la­bel­ing the ap­proach a po­lit­i­cal stunt by Democrats.

On Fri­day, law­mak­ers are ex­pected to vote on a bill to re­open the in­te­rior Depart­ment, which runs na­tional parks.

While the bills have pre­vi­ously been passed by the Gop-con­trolled Se­nate, the White House an­nounced Trump would veto the leg­is­la­tion, and Se­nate Repub­li­can Leader Mitch Mccon­nell has made it clear he won’t bring any shut­down-re­lated bills to floor with­out the Pres­i­dent’s sup­port.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thurs­day the House will vote on more spend­ing bills next week.

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