House and Senate Republicans were poised on Thursday to pass a temporary funding measure and extend a key surveillance tool before leaving town for the year.
House lawmakers are expected to pass a bill funding the federal government until Jan. 19 later Thursday afternoon. Democrats have vowed to oppose the measure because it excludes their wishlist items, but Republicans appear to have the support needed to pass it with GOP votes only.
Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., a GOP appropriator, confirmed to the Washington Examiner that the GOP appears able to pass the bill, which had stalled briefly because of opposition from the chamber's most conservative faction, the House Freedom Caucus. Several HFC votes have flipped to "yes," after behind-the-scenes negotiations.
"The Freedom Caucus has worked very close with leadership to provide enough Republican votes to keep the government open," HFC Chairman Mark Meadows said Thursday after the House voted to advance the measure.
The bill would move next to the Senate, where lawmakers are expected to pass it later today.
Unlike the House, Senate passage requires the support of both parties thanks to a 60-vote threshold. Most or all of GOP lawmakers are likely to vote for the bill, but they will need at least eight Democrats to pass it.
A few Senate Democrats have vowed to vote against the bill because it excludes wishlist items including language to legalize the so-called Dreamers who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children.
Senate Democrats, though, are not eager to be tagged with the blame for a government shutdown, which could be the case if all Republicans vote for the bill and their party refuses to put up the votes to avert a filibuster.
President Trump has issued several recent tweets suggesting Democrats will be blamed for a partial government shutdown.
The spending bill includes a short-term extension of a federal counterterrorism tool as well as funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Republicans to work on a bipartisan deal on fiscal 2018 spending and other issues, including Dreamer legislation, but he suggested a willingness to wait until next year.
"Whether that global deal comes before the week is out or at a later date in January, it has to be a truly global deal," Schumer said Wednesday.
Both chambers are also likely to take up a bill to provide $81 billion in disaster relief aid for hurricane and wildfire damage.