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House Passes Spending Bill to Fund Government

Image: House Passes Spending Bill to Fund Government
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By    |   Wednesday, 03 May 2017 04:44 PM

The House passed a spending bill Wednesday that would keep the government funded and avoid a shutdown later this week.

The bill, which passed 309-118, still needs to get the Senate's approval before it lands on President Donald Trump's desk. If the measure does not make it through the Senate before Friday's midnight deadline, the government will shut down.

House and Senate leaders struck a tentative agreement on the $1.1 trillion bill Sunday. Some of Trump's demands did not make it into the bill, but it does contain a big boost in defense spending that the Trump administration will use, in part, to replace existing fencing with steel fencing along America's southern border.

The bill does not, however, include money for building new sections of the border wall that Trump campaigned heavily on. That will be debated later this year.

Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, praised the House for approving the bill in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

"It is encouraging and significant that the consolidated spending bill received bipartisan support in the House, and I look forward to encouraging bipartisan approval in the Senate," Leahy said. "It is a tangible step toward a return to regular order and bipartisan cooperation in the handling of the 12 annual appropriations bills that fund the federal government.

"It is not perfect — products of compromise rarely are — but it is a good deal for the American people."

House Speaker Paul Ryan praised the measure as bipartisan, and said the biggest gain for conservatives came as Democrats dropped longstanding demands to match Pentagon increases with equal hikes for non-defense programs.

"No longer will the needs of our military be held hostage by the demands for more domestic spending," Ryan said. "In my mind, that is what's most important here."

Democrats also backed the measure, which protects popular domestic programs such as education, medical research, and grants to state and local governments from cuts sought by Trump — while dropping from earlier versions a host of GOP agenda items.

"It's imperative to note what this bill does not contain," said Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, the lead negotiator for Democrats. "Not one cent for President Trump's border wall and no poison pill riders that would have prevented so-called sanctuary cities from receiving federal grants, defunded Planned Parenthood, undermined the Affordable Care Act."

Not everyone on the Republican side of the House chamber supported the bill, however. Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana said in a statement he voted against it.

"This legislation fails to properly address our $20 trillion national debt and reduce the size and scope of the federal government," Banks said. "As work immediately begins on next year's spending bills, I am hopeful that Congress will follow the regular budget order and work with the Trump Administration to cut spending and change the Washington status quo."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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The House passed a spending bill Wednesday that would keep the government funded and avoid a shutdown later this week.
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Wednesday, 03 May 2017 04:44 PM
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