Moving to avert a government shutdown, House Republicans announced a new stopgap spending bill Wednesday that would fully fund the Defense Department for the rest of fiscal year 2018, while keeping other government operations running through Jan. 19.
The bill would also continue the Children’s Health Insurance Program, giving a reprieve to states who were about to start running out of money for the federal-state partnership to provide health coverage for millions of youths.
The bill gives certainty to the Pentagon — a key goal of Republicans — but leaves domestic programs struggling on stopgap money for another month.
Democratic leaders have said they can’t accept that solution, leaving the fate of the bill up in the air.
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, New Jersey Republican and House Appropriations Committee chairman, said that while the bill wasn’t a great way to run the government, it was the best option as all sides continue to fight over their priorities.
“This resolution will allow time for the leadership of the House and Senate and the White House to come to agreement on a topline spending level for this fiscal year,” Mr. Frelinghuysen said in a statement. “Once this agreement is made, my committee will promptly go to work with the Senate to complete the final legislation.”
Democrats are likely to balk at the bill, which aside from the CHIP program doesn’t appear to do anything they were hoping to achieve. In particular, Democrats are under intense pressure from immigrant-rights activists to win passage of a permanent solution for illegal immigrant “Dreamers.”
Republican leaders say the deadline on Dreamers is March 5, when President Trump’s phaseout of the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty kicks in, but Dreamers have set an artificial end-of-year deadline instead.
Dreamers have urged Democrats and several dozen allied Republicans to refuse to approve any spending bill, risking a government shutdown, unless a full pathway to citizenship for as many as 2 million illegal immigrants is included in the next spending bill.
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