WASHINGTON – Congress approved an interim spending bill on Thursday to prevent the government from closing this weekend and to buy time for challenging conversations about a wide range of pending businesses at the Capitol.
The measure passed largely along the lines of the party in the House of Representatives, 235-193, but got greater approval in the Senate, 81-14. The bill, which would keep the government in effect until December 22, will now be sent to President Donald Trump.
The votes came when Trump and the main congressional leaders in both parties met to discuss a series of bipartisan unfinished businesses on Capitol Hill, including the budget, a key child health program and aid to Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida. and, for Democrats and many Republicans, protections for immigrants illegally brought into the country as children.
In consecutive declarations, both parties declared the meeting as "productive".
"We had a productive conversation on a wide variety of issues, but nothing specific has been agreed, but discussions continue," said Capitol Hill's top Democrats, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California. , ticking off a list of Democratic priorities, including increases in domestic spending, veteran funds and money to fight opiate abuse, immigration and health care.
Republican leaders promised help for immigrants known as Dreamers for their supporters, many of whom have only known the United States as their home.
Spokesmen for House Speaker Paul Ryan, Republican for Wisconsin, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican for Kentucky, said Republican leaders "emphasized the need to address border security, compliance with the law and other parts of our broken immigration system. " "Add that the complicated issue of immigration" should be a separate process and not used to maintain hostage funds for our men and women in uniform. "
Negotiations will surely be misleading. Pelosi defended a hard line on Thursday and insisted in which any end-of-year deal resolves the immigration problem.
Immigrants are viewed with sympathy by the public and most lawmakers, but face deportation in a few months because Trump reversed the Administrative protections provided by former President Barack Obama
Pelosi told reporters before the meeting that "we will not leave here" without helping immigrants, his position was remarkable because Republican leaders are likely to need votes Democrats for the bill before Christmas.
Pelosi returned from the White House to oppose Thursday's provisional measure Fourteen Democrats supported the measure, however, while 18 Republicans opposed it.
Among Republicans, the conservative House Freedom Caucus had resisted the provisional measure pending earlier this week, fearing it would lead to a bad deal for conservatives in the future. But on Thursday, the group's president, Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican from North Carolina, said the group would likely give leaders the support they need to pass the legislation.
Meadows said they will help him avoid the distractions of Republicans to boost his treasured $ 1.5 trillion tax bill in Congress this month. This measure, which mainly benefits businesses and high-income people, is Trump's and GOP's main remaining priority and would be their first major legislative triumph of the year.
But hours before Trump negotiated with White House congressional leaders on long-term spending decisions, Meadows said conservatives would oppose any agreement they believe would allow excessive federal spending.
"I want to avoid a headline that says that the administration of President Trump has just passed the highest spending levels in the history of the United States," Meadows told two journalists. "There will be no support for numbers that are too high, regardless of anyone's position on that."
He also said that Ryan promised that he would fight in the coming weeks to approve an annual budget for the army and stop fights with Democrats over domestic spending for later. It is not clear how that strategy would work, since Republicans control the Senate 52-48 and will need at least eight Democratic votes to pass any spending legislation.
The prospects for success in the White House talks were affected on Wednesday when the impulsive Trump told reporters that a shutdown "could happen." He blamed the Democrats, saying they want "illegal immigrants to enter our country, bringing with them crimes, huge amounts of crimes."
Last week, an unexpected Trump attack on Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. And Pelosi made the two skip a negotiating session that was planned at that time.
This time, the White House softened the waters following with a more peaceful written statement. He praised Pelosi and Schumer for choosing to "put their responsibility before the American people over partisanship" and said that Trump was anticipating productive conversations between "leaders who put their differences aside".
The two-week spending bill also makes money available to several states that are running out of funds for the Children's Health Insurance Program. This widely popular program provides medical care to more than 8 million children.
Although it was likely that many Democrats would oppose the law in the short term, it was expected that enough to support it in the Senate to allow its passage there. They know that they would still have influence on the subsequent bills necessary to keep the government functioning.
The Democrats promise us their influence to insist on spending increases for health care, infrastructure and other domestic programs that would match the increases that Republicans want for defense.