WASHINGTON — The House voted to insert $5.7 billion in border wall funding into the Senate’s continuing resolution and send it back to the upper chamber, even though many senators have left for the holidays.
The tally was 217-185, with eight Republicans voting against the stopgap measure.
That sets up a stalemate with the Senate just before the Friday government shutdown deadline, where lawmakers have allocated $1.3 billion for border security measures that don’t include a concrete wall.
The Senate is scheduled to come back into session at noon Friday to consider the House bill.
“Tonight the House passed a continuing resolution to keep the government open, secure our borders, and provide relief to communities harmed by natural disasters,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said of the measure sweetened with $7.8 billion in natural-disaster relief. “Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats now have to decide whether it is worth shutting down the government to keep us from securing our border.”
It was expected at the beginning of the week that President Trump would sign the Senate version, but after pushback from conservatives he returned to the all-or-nothing wall money demand.
“I’ve made my position very clear: Any measure that funds the government must include border security. It has to,” Trump said while signing the Farm Bill on Wednesday. “Not for political purposes but for our country, for the safety of our community.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) met with media Thursday night and declared there’s no way the $5 billion in wall funding will get through.
“The bottom line is simple: the Trump temper tantrum will shut down the government but it will not get him his wall. The bill that’s on the floor of the House — everyone knows will not pass the Senate. Speaker Ryan, Leader McCarthy have cynically put it on the floor of the House knowing it can’t pass the Senate. Everyone knows it can’t pass the Senate,” Schumer said. “It’s a cynical attempt — a cynical attempt — to just hurt innocent people and do just what President Trump wants, even though they probably know it’s bad for the country.”
“The president is doing everything that he can to shut the government down. You have to ask the question, why? Does he not believing governance? Does he not care about the American people? Doesn’t he know that the economy is uncertain? Hasn’t he followed the stock market that he likes to brag about sometimes?” Pelosi said. “There’s something wrong with this picture — especially in the holiday season.”
A shutdown won’t affect the workforce in departments where appropriations bills have already been signed, including Defense, Education, Veterans Affairs, Energy, Labor, and Heath and Human Services.
Employees in the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development would be affected, though, as their appropriations bills remain outstanding. Workers whose jobs are categorized as urgent, including active-duty military, keep working through a shutdown.