House Dems Pass Final Spending Bill That Is Unlikely to Become Law
Measure is approved even though Trump has threatened to veto anything that doesn't include border wall funding
House Democrats were able to pass their last of four appropriations bills on Friday with the intent of ending the ongoing government shutdown.
The government has been in a partial government shutdown over a dispute about border security funding since December 22.
House Democrats passed the final spending bill to end the shutdown on a 240 to 179 vote.
But the bills are unlikely to get far. President Donald Trump has threatened to veto spending bills that don’t include border wall funding.
Democratic leaders have opposed providing anything for the border wall while the president has pushed for $5.7 billion.
The fourth spending bill passed covers agencies that oversee environmental and interior policies.
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) (shown above left) introduced the four bills last Sunday.
“This shutdown, by the way, is soon to become the longest in history, and it’s creating chaos in our communities,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said before the vote.
“It’s a needless crisis that is inflicting pain on the American people. Democrats support effective border security. We honor our oath of office to protect and defend our borders, our country, our people and our Constitution. But we need to look at the facts.”
The DEA released a report that found that the vast majority of illegal drugs entering the country go through a port of entry. Democrats have insisted that ramping up the ports of entry should be the approach instead of the wall Trump has been proposing.
Trump doesn’t disagree — but insists that between those ports there must be a strong physical barrier.
“We don’t need what the president first described as a concrete wall that’s 30 feet high and paid for by Mexico,” Pelosi said, in part.
The first appropriations bill, passed Wednesday, covers agencies that oversee financial and tax policies.
The second spending bill funds transportation and urban development and was passed Thursday.
The third bill covers agriculture, rural development, food and drugs policies and was passed immediately afterward.
House Republicans took issue with how the bills came to be. The bills are based on legislation that Senate Republicans passed but that the previous Republican majority in the House of Representatives rejected.
Yet the president has since made clear he won’t sign any spending bills that don’t include border wall funding.
“Frankly, we should be embarrassed as members of the House of Representatives to bring this bill to the floor,” House Rules Committee Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said before the vote. “There is not a single member in the chamber today who had a single thing to do with anything in this bill. No appropriator, nobody. It’s totally a Senate product. So every speaker that gets up and says how important this is had literally nothing to do with writing it.”
Trump and congressional leaders from both parties have continued discussions to overcome the partial government shutdown. But those meetings have been contentious, even leading the president to walk out of one on Wednesday.
Both sides have accused the other of not negotiating a deal in good faith.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said he’s only willing to provide $1.3 billion for border security funding that can’t go to the wall.
He has been leading the opposition against providing border wall funding, alongside Speaker Pelosi.
Trump has argued there is a crisis along the southern border that must be addressed now. He’s repeatedly stated that having a border wall is a critical piece of that. He has made the argument during press conferences throughout the shutdown.
He also discussed the issue during a trip to the southern border and his first Oval Office address.
But the appropriations bills are unlikely to get far. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he wouldn’t bring up any bills the president wouldn’t sign.
Trump has floated the idea of declaring a state of emergency to get the border wall funding. He recently said during a press conference he might do so if talks fail.
The move could possibly allow the president to free up billions in emergency funds for the wall through the National Emergencies Act. But he is also likely to face lawsuits, too.
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