Fresh off their tax reform victory, GOP leaders are trying to avert a government shutdown by bringing a short-term funding bill to the House floor today.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is working to soothe his fractured caucus, some of whom are upset that leadership is not trying to pass full-year funding for the Pentagon. Ryan and other House leaders told the rank-and-file they don’t have 217 votes to pass the defense boost.
Instead, Ryan wants to pass a short-term patch to fund the government until Jan. 19, and hold a separate vote on a $81 billion hurricane relief package. The short-term continuing resolution includes funding through March for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and waives automatic spending cuts to Medicare triggered by the tax bill under the so-called PAYGO (“pay-as-you-go”) law.
If the House passes the bill today, the Senate will move on it before it adjourns tomorrow.
In an encouraging sign for Ryan, several defense hawks have said they will reluctantly support leadership’s short-term funding plan. “I think there are a lot of people who are going to spend their time tonight really thinking about whether or not this is the hill we’re going to die on,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who serves on the House Armed Services Committee. “We just had this great moment on tax reform. I think they’re going to get the votes.”
Republicans aren’t expected to get any help from Democrats, who oppose the short-term plan because it doesn’t address any of their priorities, such as funding for the opioid crisis and support for the DREAM Act.
Senate Republicans had wanted funding to prop up Affordable Care Act subsidies, but have dropped those demands due to lack of support in the House. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she hopes to secure a vote on Obamacare subsidies in January.