Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speak during a congressional Gold Medal ceremony for former Senator Bob Dole, in Washington D.C., on Wednesday. The two senators are on opposite sides of a contentious debate involving a spending bill, which Schumer has vowed to block. Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The House on Thursday night passed a stopgap spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, but it now goes to the Senate where Democrats may block the measure.
The measure, which funds the government only through Feb. 16, passed the House 230 to 197 as several conservative Republicans agreed to approve it late in the process. In the Senate, it will need at least 12 Democrat votes to pass and avoid a government shutdown.
But a dozen Democrats are unlikely to approve the measure, despite the looming threat of a government shutdown, as the party is trying to pressure President Donald Trump to acquiesce to it demands on immigration.
At the heart of Democrats' concerns is the nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children and are now in the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program -- a temporary visa program enacted by former President Barack Obama in 2012 but never signed into law.
The DACA program expires in March and Democrats want to prevent the recipients from being subject to deportation.
Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats are unified behind a "no" vote.
Schumer said that if Democrats voted to approve it, "there will be no incentive to negotiate, and we'll be right back here in a month with the same problems at our feet," The New York Times reported.
Republicans are now accusing Senate Democrats of taking the government hostage and harming government employees, who could face delays in paychecks, to obtain its demands.
"A government shutdown will be devastating to our military...something the Dems care very little about!" Trump tweeted earlier in the day.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., also urged Senate Democrats to pass the stopgap measure.
"Senator Schumer, do not shut down the government," Ryan said.