House Democrats pass two spending bills aimed at ending shutdown

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By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — The Democratic-controlled House on Thursday night passed a pair of spending bills that would fully fund and re-open the federal government, though neither will become law.

Hours into the first day of the 116th Congress, the House approved a bill that would fund the rest of the government through Sept. 30 with new funding levels. It separately approved a measure that would extend current funding for the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8.

The two-pronged appropriations plan to bring an end to the the government shutdown that began on Dec. 22 isn’t expected to proceed any further: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has repeatedly made clear that he won’t bring the funding bills to the Senate floor because President Donald Trump wouldn’t sign them.

Jan. 3, 201908:18

If the Senate were to pass the plan, Trump would veto it, the White House said Thursday ahead of the vote in a statement of administration policy.

Earlier in the day, McConnell said the incoming Democratic majority had to make a choice heading into the new term: “Good governance or political performance art? The public interest or political spite? Policy making or presidential harassment?”

McConnell also reiterated his requirements for bringing a shutdown-ending bill to the Senate floor: any proposal, he said, would need to be bicameral, bipartisan and something that can “get a presidential signature.”

“The legislation that House Democrats reportedly plan to vote on later today is, in my view, not a serious attempt to check all three of those boxes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters Thursday that the most productive thing the Senate could do to end the shutdown would be to pass the House bills. “There are two people who can open up the government, and help millions of Americans, and they are Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell,” he said.

President Trump and congressional leaders were scheduled to meet again on Friday at the White House after failing to make any progress during a closed-door discussion in the Situation Room on Wednesday.

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