Christmas Miracle: House Passes Contentious Bill To Avert Shutdown

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After nearly eight hours of chaos and uncertainty, House Republicans cobbled together enough votes to narrowly pass a contentious bill that funds most of the government through September 2015 and averts a shutdown.

The bill faced opposition from GOP conservatives angry that it failed to defund President Barack Obama’s immigration executive actions, and from progressive Democrats who strenuously objected to provisions that weakened rules on banks and loosened campaign finance regulations.

The $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by a vote of 219 to 206, less than three hours before a midnight deadline to avert a shutdown. Fifty-seven Democrats joined 162 Republicans in voting for the bill.

It now goes to the Senate, which has remained in session awaiting the House vote. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said the upper chamber would vote on it “as soon as possible,” as early as Friday.

After the omnibus vote, the House quickly passed a two-day stopgap measure to extend the funding deadline in order to give the Senate time to pass the full bill. Reid’s office said the Senate would swiftly pass that by a voice vote.

The spending bill created deep and bitter divisions among Democrats, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and allies of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) saying the party must draw a red line against provisions that help big banks if they want to be seen as credible advocates for the middle class. The progressive faction nearly scuttled the bill.

Meanwhile, the White House has been pushing for passage of the spending bill, arguing to Democrats publicly and privately that Republicans would have more leverage in the new Congress if it were to fail.

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