House Republican leaders are skating on thin ice with the government funding bill, facing stiff opposition from the left and the right that threatens passage just hours before a midnight deadline to avert a shutdown.
GOP leaders temporarily recessed the House and postponed a final vote scheduled for the afternoon, while informing members to be ready to vote.
“Leadership teams are still talking to their respective Members. A vote is still planned for this afternoon,” a House Republican leadership aide said.
Republicans long expected some opposition from their right flank due to the fact that the $1.1 trillion spending bill doesn’t block President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. What has thrown the plan into chaos is that numerous House Democrats are defecting over extraneous policy provisions that would weaken derivative trading rules on big banks and loosen campaign finance laws. The bill likely will need significant Democratic support to pass.
The Democratic opposition is being led by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA), who call the bank provision a giveaway to Wall Street.
According to multiple sources, the legislation was negotiated by GOP and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate. House Democratic leaders stress that they don’t support all the provisions in the bill but want to keep the government open. They say they are not whipping against the bill.
The White House came out for the bill after it cleared a test vote in the House by a narrow 214-212 margin earlier on Thursday. It said it objects to the weakening of Wall Street reform but signaled Obama would sign the bill anyway.
A fallback plan Republican leaders are considering is to pass a short-term spending bill for two or three months to maintain the status quo and kick the task to the next Congress.