The House has passed a short-term spending bill, but the hardest part starts now

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., meet with reporters outside the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, following their meeting with President Donald Trump inside. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A short-term spending bill — known as a continuing resolution — has passed the House of Representatives and now heads to the Senate. The continuing resolution would keep the government open for an additional month. The bill passed 230-197; 11 Republicans voted against it, while six Democrats voted for it.

However, some parts of the continuing resolution could make the bill an especially difficult climb in the Senate, especially as Republicans get to the final 24 hours of working time. Government funding expires at midnight on Friday night.

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In it is a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which is jointly funded by states and the federal government. While federal funding for the program expired in September of last year, Republicans shelved the matter to pass tax cuts. Republicans originally sought to pass a short-term extension of CHIP along with the continuing resolution, but their plans were thrown into chaos this morning when President Donald Trump tweeted a demand for a longer extension of the program.

Trump’s tweet lent ammunition to some Democrats who used it to ask why Republicans refused to pass a longer extension of CHIP, insinuating that Republicans were using the children’s health insurance program for political purposes.

Additionally, the conservative House Freedom Caucus extracted a number of promises from House Republicans in exchange for their votes that Democrats might find hard to swallow.

They include a promised vote on a defense-only appropriations bill within the next 10 working days and a promised vote on a conservative immigration bill that would extend protection for people covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in exchange for funds for a border wall, an end to the diversity visa program and cuts to family reunification immigration, which Trump has referred to as “chain migration.”

That DACA fix, however, would be separate from the continuing resolution just passed in the House — and some Democrats have signaled they would not vote for another short-term spending bill that fails to address DACA.

Republicans have a majority in the Senate, but they do not have the “supermajority” (60 votes) needed to pass a spending bill on their own.

What do you think?

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