Congress

Lacking Republican support, House Democrats’ bill to open government through Feb. 1 fails

Measure needed two-thirds support because it was brought to the floor under suspension of the rules

On the 25th day of the partial government shutdown, the House failed to pass a stopgap to reopen the government through Feb. 1. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats’ attempt to sway enough Republicans to help them pass a stopgap funding bill to open up the government through Feb. 1 failed Tuesday. 

The continuing resolution to extend fiscal 2018 funding for shuttered agencies for two-and-a-half weeks failed, 237-187.

It needed two-thirds support of those voting to pass because it was brought to the floor under a fast track process known as suspension of the rules. 

Only six Republicans voted for the CR: New York Reps. John Katko and Elise Stefanik, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Texas Rep. Will Hurd, Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and New Jersey Rep. Christopher H. Smith.

All six Republicans have voted for other spending bills Democrats have brought to the floor in recent weeks in attempts to reopen the government. This was the lowest amount of Republican support any of the spending bills have received other than a CR to reopen the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8, which received five Republican “yes” votes.

Republicans argued that the vote was just another political ploy by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats given that the measure would not be taken up in the Senate or signed by President Donald Trump. 

“What she’s doing this week is political theater,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said of Pelosi. “It’s going nowhere in the Senate. It’s prolonging the shutdown. And I think now is the time to make sure we take this serious, come together, and find a place that we have common ground.”

Republicans have hammered Democrats for failing to provide a counter offer to the Trump administration’s request for $5.7 billion in border wall funding. Democrats have said they do not support the wall and they will not negotiate until the government is reopened. 

Tuesday’s CR vote, held on the 25th day of the partial government shutdown, highlighted yet again how dug in the two sides are. It showed that even if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were to change his mind and move House Democrats’ bills that there there’s not enough support in the House to override a presidential veto for even a brief stopgap. 

The House will vote on two more continuing resolutions this week.

First the House will consider a CR lasting through Feb. 8 as an amendment to a disaster funding measure the chamber will vote on Wednesday. Then on Thursday the House will hold vote on another standalone CR lasting through Feb. 28.

Both of those CR votes will be subject to a simple majority threshold because the measures will be brought up under a rule. Thus they are expected to pass the House with primarily Democratic support but likely be ignored in the Senate.

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