WASHINGTON ― The House passed a stopgap funding bill Tuesday to fund the government through Dec. 20, moving one step closer to averting a government shutdown and buying time for a possible resolution of partisan budget disputes that have dragged on for months.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign the continuing resolution after it passes the Senate. House Democrats muscled through the continuing resolution, 231-192, with 10 Democrats voting “nay” and 12 Republicans voting “yea.”
The bill would temporarily extend three Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act provisions and add spending for the 2020 census. The bill also included a spending measure for the Import-Export Bank as well as a provision for a 3.1 percent pay raise for troops.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signaled Monday he would take up the bill, so long as it avoided contentious policy riders.
“This is what we need: A CR, as clean as possible, through Dec. 20, to enable more progress on appropriations before the end of the year,” he said. “A clean CR through Dec. 20 would pass the Senate. And the White House has indicated President Trump would sign it."
Though congressional leaders and the White House reached a much ballyhooed two-year spending deal earlier in the year, which includes about $738 billion in military funding for fiscal 2020, disputes over their 12 FY20 appropriations bills continue, particularly in how much to give Trump for his U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Pro-defense advocates have decried the budgeting delays and government shutdowns for their destabilizing effect on the military. Under the rules of a continuing resolution, the Pentagon is unable to begin 79 new-start programs or 39 planned production increases.
“A CR through December strongly signals another long-term CR to follow, potentially threatening the missions of our armed forces, the work of federal employees, and vital programs for folks throughout our nation,” said the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee’s top Republican, Virginia Rep. Rob Wittman, who voted “no” on Tuesday.
“Instead of finding temporary fixes and funding by crisis, we should be working tirelessly to reach the end of the funding process,” he added.
This is the second CR since the fiscal year began Oct. 1.
Joe Gould was the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He had previously served as Congress reporter.