WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives approved a stopgap spending bill Wednesday night that seeks to keep the United States government funded at current levels for one week beyond a looming deadline for a complete shutdown.
Lawmakers have until Friday evening to pass what is known as a continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown, and the House's largely party-line 224-201 vote will give Congress extra breathing room to work out a deal on an omnibus USD1.7 trillion funding package.
Should it clear the Senate, lawmakers would have until Dec. 23 to hammer out the details on the larger spending bill.
Republicans have opposed efforts to craft the larger package before they assume control of the House in January and are hoping to hold out until then to have a larger say in the spending legislation.
Kevin McCarthy, the House's top Republican, said the party should be allowed to weigh in on the spending bill given its success in the Nov. 8 midterm elections, calling for Congress to pass a longer-term spending bill that would fund the government at current levels through the new year.
"A month ago, the American people voted for a new direction in Washington. It was their will that the current business as usual approach needs to stop," he told reporters at the Capitol ahead of the vote. "The Democrats have been in power. They've had the House, the Senate and the presidency. They did not do their work, but they should not jam us now."
Republicans are slated to take control in the House following last month's elections, but they have also lost one seat in the Senate with Democrats there now able to claim an outright majority after the chamber was evenly split for the past two years.
Negotiators from the House and Senate announced Tuesday night that they reached consensus on a "framework" funding deal for the full fiscal year but said final details still needed to be agreed upon. They suggested the agreement could be finalized next week.
Unlike McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has thrown his weight behind the omnibus package, calling it preferable to the alternatives. (Anadolu)