IN OUR GOVERNMENT: Trillion dollar spending package narrowly passes house and temporarily avoids shutdown
Despite objections and misgivings from both sides of the aisle, the $1.1 trillion budget deal passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 219-206 on Thursday. Temporarily avoiding a second government shutdown in 14 months, the Senate will now take up the measure.
The current government funding ran out on Thursday at midnight, but President Barack Obama signed a two day extension to allow time for the Senate to take up the bill. The two day extension will keep the government running through midnight on Saturday.
However, despite what was expected, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden worked in an unlikely alliance with GOP leadership to attempt to sway conservative members from both parties. Although the bill passed, many Republican leaders were outspoken about their objections to the bill.
Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), one of 67 Republicans to vote against the bill, said it was the lack of addressing Obama’s executive amnesty which caused her to vote no. “Unfortunately, this spending package fails to take the necessary actions to defund the President’s lawless amnesty. As a result, I cannot vote in support of this measure. It is not fair that hard-working taxpayers in Tennessee will now have to compete for jobs with illegal aliens to whom the President is unilaterally granting work permits at a time when our workforce participation rate sits as a 36-year low and more than 90 million Americans are out of work,” said Blackburn. “That is why I fought for and passed my bill in the House this summer to freeze the President’s unconstitutional Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. King Obama’s amnesty is turning America into a lawless open borders society.”
Blackburn was joined by Democratic leaders, specifically House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi in opposing the bill. Pelosi called it 'blackmail' because it rolled back the Wall Street reform Democrats had worked hard in 2010 to win. Other Tennessee Representatives were split on the vote. Jim Cooper (D-TN) joined fellow Democrat Steven Cohen as well as Republicans Marsha Blackburn, John Duncan and Scott DesJarlais in voting against the bill. However, Tennessee Republicans Phil Roe, Chuch Fleischmann, Diane Black and Stephen Fincher voted in favor of the spending package.
The current plan in the bill will fund the federal government through September 2015, but only funds immigration services through late February. As a result, it will potentially set up another battle over immigration for early 2015.
The Senate is expected to take up the bill Friday and debates are projected to last the weekend, potentially into Monday.