House and Senate pass stopgap spending bill to avoid government shutdown

PHOTO: The exterior of the United States Capitol Building is seen on Dec. 1, 2017.PlayAlex Edelman/CNP/Polaris FILE
WATCH House and Senate pass stopgap spending bill to avoid government shutdown

One day before Friday's deadline, the House and Senate have passed a month-long extension to fund the government and avoid a shutdown just before the holidays.

The stopgap spending bill, which would keep the government running until January 19, passed the GOP-controlled House by a vote of 231 to 188 and the Republican-led Senate by a vote of 66 to 32. The "continuing resolution" keeps spending at current levels and now goes to President Trump for his signature.

The bill includes a short-term, six-month extension of CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program, that expired Oct. 1 and covers some nine million children.

But the legislation punts other big-ticket items into the new year, setting up continued battles over immigration, defense spending and other issues.

The House also voted 251-169 Thursday night to approve an $81 billion emergency disaster relief package to aid hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida and Texas-- as well as states hard hit by wildfires.

The House vote was bipartisan – with 182 Republicans joining 69 Democrats – to create a majority. Fifty-one Republicans voted against the bill, mostly due to concerns that the money for disaster relief is not offset with spending cuts because it is considered “emergency” relief. Another 118 Democrats opposed the disaster aid, some because they were shut out of the drafting, while others said the funding was inadequate.

Meanwhile in the Senate, Democrats blocked the measure, arguing that how much should be spent on disaster relief should be part of the broader funding debates being left for January.

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