The Republican-led House averted disaster by the slimmest of margins in a dramatic test vote on Thursday to advance the $1.1 trillion government funding bill.
The “rule” passed by a 214 to 212 vote, with Democrats unanimously voting “no” and some Republicans switching to “yes” in the final moments to ensure that the legislation comes up for a House vote later on Thursday.
The outcome was in doubt until the very end — GOP leaders were losing the vote and held it open after time had expired, despite Democrats yelling at them to close it, and called it once enough members switched to pass it. In the end, 16 Republicans voted against it.
The deadline to fund the government or face a shutdown is Thursday at midnight. House Republican leaders have no clear fallback if the bill fails, but have considered the possibility of a short-term “continuing resolution” to keep funds flowing.
Democrats voted against the “rule,” revolting over extraneous provisions in the bill which would weaken financial reform rules on derivatives trading and loosen campaign finance laws. The opposition has been led by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) in the House, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in the Senate.
On the other end, conservative Republicans rebelled because the bill does not include language to block President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
“I expect this bill will receive bipartisan support and pass,” Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said before the vote. “If we don’t finish today we’re going to be here till Christmas.”
If the House passes the bill, the Senate is expected to take it up shortly after.