Congress averted a partial government shutdown Friday, approving a one-week spending measure to keep agencies and services running while lawmakers negotiate a longer-term spending deal.
The Senate approved the one-week continuing resolution by voice vote after the House of Representatives passed the stopgap bill by 382-30.
The votes kick a potential funding crisis into next week. If a new spending plan is not approved by midnight next Friday, much of the government will be out of funding.
“We shouldn’t be in this situation,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said on the Senate floor before the vote. “We shouldn’t have allowed partisan politics once again to turn a looming deadline into a political standoff and what’s really a manufactured crisis.”
Several Republicans were annoyed that the funding battle will continue into next week, but grudgingly voted to do it.
“I think it’s the wrong way to do business but I’m willing to wait five days to see what the long-term plan is,” said. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, who has voted against continuing resolutions in the past. “What it means for the American people is that we’re going to go further into debt.”
Friday’s vote came after the White House and some congressional Republicans retreated from attempts to bring a GOP-crafted rewrite of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act to a floor vote Friday or Saturday. Republicans were eyeing ways to bring the bill back for consideration next week.
The White House desperately wanted a vote on the reworked bill this week in order to give President Donald Trump a victory as the marker of his first 100 days approaches Saturday.
But the health care effort was temporarily abandoned as Republican congressional leaders acknowledged there weren’t enough votes for the GOP plan – called the American Health Care Act – largely because of opposition to some provisions by moderate Republicans.
At least 18 Republicans in the House are on record opposing the health care bill, which contains an amendment negotiated by conservative House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and moderate Tuesday Group leader Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., that gives states the ability to seek waivers that would weaken parts of Obamacare, including measures that protect people with pre-existing conditions.
“As soon as we have the votes, we’ll vote on it,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters as he left a Republican leadership meeting Thursday night.
While Friday’s House vote held little drama, getting to the yeas and nays Friday was fraught with anxious moments.
On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., blocked a measure that would have let the Senate approve the short-term spending bill without a formal vote. Democratic aides indicated that Schumer would drop his objection once he felt there was an agreement on a long-term government funding bill.
“Instead of rushing through health care, they first ought to get the government funded for a full year, plain and simple,” Schumer told reporters Thursday.
But on Friday, Schumer said, “We’ve made good enough progress” to move forward with a voice vote on the one-week funding extension.
Lesley Clark, Tony Pugh, Elizabeth Koh and Curtis Tate contributed to this story.