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House passes stopgap spending bill, averting shutdown

By Eric DuVall
House passes stopgap spending bill, averting shutdown
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks to reporters on his way to the house floor to vote on a stopgap spending bill on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday. The bill prevents a government shutdown for one week. Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo

April 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives easily passed a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown, giving lawmakers another week to hammer out a deal on the federal budget.

The Senate is expected to pass the measure Friday night for President Donald Trump's approval. Appropriations bills authorizing federal spending were set to expire Saturday.

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Though Republicans control both houses of Congress, Democratic votes will be needed to pass a final budget, marking the first time the parties have had to come together on an agreement for major legislation since Trump took office.

The Hill reported a deal is close, but there are still two major sticking points that remain between the parties: Whether to craft a bailout package to resolve Puerto Rico's debt crisis and a healthcare package for coal miners demanded by lawmakers from several coal-heavy states.

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The two largest potential barriers to a deal have been removed by the Trump administration. Democrats in the Senate promised to block funding for Trump's border wall despite initial demands by the administration that the budget provide a "down payment" to begin construction. Trump later backed off that demand.

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Democrats also compromised after demanding that Congress include payments made by the federal government to health insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act. Republicans have called the payments illegal and a lawsuit over them is winding its way through the federal courts. In the meantime, Trump threatened to halt the payments to force Democrats to compromise on his effort at healthcare reform.

The two sides compromised when Democrats backed off their demand for the payments to be codified in the budget after Trump promised to continue making them without congressional approval.

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Once passed, the spending bills avert a potentially embarrassing symbolic moment for Trump. Saturday, the day the federal government would go dark, is his 100th day in office.

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