House Dems Pass Spending Bills That Are Unlikely to Get Very Far
The group approved two more appropriations proposals in an effort to reopen government
House Democrats were able to get two of four appropriations bills passed on Thursday, with the intent to end the ongoing government shutdown.
Late on Wednesday, the same group was able to pass the first of the appropriations bills. The House Dems then moved to passing the second and third spending bills after a long debate on Thursday.
But the proposals are unlikely to get far. President Donald Trump has threatened to veto spending bills that don’t include $5.7 billion for his border wall.
The partial government shutdown began because of the border security dispute on December 22. Trump has stood his ground when it comes to getting border wall funding. Democratic leaders have been equally steadfast in their opposition to the border security wall.
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) (shown above left) introduced the four bills on Sunday.
“House Democrats have passed bills to reopen the government. But the president and Senate Republicans continue to obstruct instead of working with us,” Lowey said before the votes.
“I do hope that my colleagues across the capital come to their senses and stop this ridiculous Trump shutdown. We can begin this bipartisan path by passing the bill before us,” she added.
The first appropriations bill passed a day earlier covers agencies that oversee financial and tax policies. The second spending bill funds transportation and urban development and was passed 243 to 180.
The third bill covers agriculture, rural development, food and drugs policies and passed 243 to 182. That leaves one more bill left.
“We are just saying to them, take yes for an answer,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during a press conference hours before the votes. “This is what you proposed. Why are you rejecting it at the expense of the health, safety and well being of the American people? Do you take an oath to the Constitution, or do you take an oath to President Trump?”
Trump and congressional leaders from both parties have continued discussions to overcome the stalemate. They’ve held numerous meetings throughout the shutdown to try to resolve the issue as well. But despite these regular meetings and efforts, the two sides have been unable to overcome the impasse thus far.
“The president has shown his willingness to negotiate and has negotiated,” Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) said before the vote. “Yet the Democrats continue to dig in their heels and not budge. Republicans have shown time and time again that they are willing to talk. The House should reject this bill, which won’t bring us any closer to a border security solution or resolve the partial government shutdown.”
Trump has repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment to funding the border wall since the shutdown began. He’s stressed the importance of having a border wall during Cabinet discussions and press conferences.
He even echoed the importance of having a border wall during his first Oval Office address on Tuesday night.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said he is only willing to provide $1.3 billion for border security funding that can’t go toward the construction of the wall. He originally was willing to offer $1.6 billion for border security, but that changed after an earlier contentious meeting with the president before the shutdown on December 11.
But those funds couldn’t go to the border wall, either.
House Democrats have made other attempts to end the shutdown as well. They passed two bills intended to fund most of the government while leaving room to debate border security. They later announced the four separate appropriations bills. As they and others know well, the bills are unlikely to get far unless the president relents on border wall funding.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he wouldn’t bring up any bills the president wouldn’t sign. He had made an earlier attempt to avert the government shutdown, such as a short-term spending bill to fund the government through February 8.
The Senate has also passed the remaining appropriations bills or advanced them through committee.
Pelosi has argued that Senate Republicans should support the plan because it’s based on legislation they passed or advanced through committees. The difference is those earlier proposals were passed in the hopes they would become law. Trump has since made clear he won’t sign anything that doesn’t include border wall funding, including short-term bills.
Trump has also floated the idea of declaring a state of emergency to get the border wall funding as well. He recently said during a press conference he might 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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