Continuing Resolution: House passes bill funding government through December

Melissa Quinn

The House on Tuesday passed a stopgap spending bill to fund the government through December 20, as lawmakers seek to stave off a government shutdown.

The legislation, known as a continuing resolution, approved 231-192, heads to the Senate days before funding for federal agencies is set to lapse at midnight this week, on November 21. Twelve Republicans joined 219 of their Democratic counterparts in backing the measure.

In addition to extending government funding at current levels, the continuing resolution provides $7.2 billion to fully fund the 2020 Census and provides a 3.1% pay raise for all members of the military. It also extends expiring healthcare programs.

"This CR will allow additional time to negotiate and enact responsible long-term funding for priorities that make our country safer and stronger and give working families a chance at a better life," Representative Nita Lowey, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in remarks on the House floor.

The continuing resolution is the second that will take effect since October 1, the start of the fiscal year. At the end of September, President Trump signed a temporary spending bill that extended funding for federal agencies until Thursday.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested the president might not sign the temporary spending bill in an effort to distract from the ongoing impeachment inquiry launched by the House on September 25. Schumer, of New York, told reporters on Capitol Hill last month he was "increasingly worried" the president would deliberately let agencies run out of money because he "always wants to create diversions."

While Congress passed a budget in July that set spending levels for the current fiscal year, which was signed by Mr. Trump the following month, lawmakers still have to pass individual appropriations bills. Republicans and Democrats, however, have not been able to reach an agreement on the measures to fund government operations.

Last year, Democrats and the White House were at an impasse over funding for Mr. Trump's wall along the southern border, resulting in a historic government shutdown that lasted 35 days.

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