Senate Votes to Prevent Government Shutdown

The Senate approved late on Thursday a stopgap bill to avoid a shutdown before Christmas, completing a frantic first year with President Donald Trump in office.

Senators voted 66-32 to approve the four-week continuing resolution that funds the government through January 19, thus giving Trump and congressional leaders more time to craft a long-term spending bill for fiscal 2018.

Seventeen Democrats voted for the bill, but many, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, opposed the measure. Defense advocates urged for more funding for the Pentagon and a deal which increases the spending ceiling for defense.

At the same time, a group of progressive Democrats opposed the measure because it didn’t include a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Ahead of the vote, they demanded that Congress pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, arguing that “Congress could show some courage and protect dreamers by passing a clean DREAM Act.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren said they have waited too long and asked Senator Mitch McConnell what he was waiting for.

Whereas in the House the stopgap bill passed with only Republican votes, GOP leaders needed the support of a minimum of eight Democrats to get the 60 votes necessary to overcome procedural hurdles, The Hill reports.

Despite the successful end of the year for Republicans, they will face difficult challenges at the beginning of next year, when they will have to agree to legislation to keep the government open again before January 19. They will also have to deal with battles over the DACA program as well as two healthcare bills that the White House and McConnell had promised to move in exchange for Senator Susan Collins supporting the tax-cut bill.

The stopgap bill also includes an extension to a federal surveillance program and a short-term extension to continue funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program through March and waives automatic cuts to programs such as Medicaid. However, it does not include two bills aimed at fixing Obamacare, which were expected to be incorporated.

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