Congress votes to reopen government, passes massive budget deal

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives approved a major budget deal early Friday morning, ending a brief government shutdown overnight and sending the measure to the President for his signature.

The House vote was 240-186. The GOP-controlled chamber needed help from House Democrats to clear the bill.

The Senate approved the measure earlier on Friday morning. The federal government shuttered for the second time in less than a month overnight, after Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul prevented the deal from passing Thursday ahead of a shutdown deadline.

Congressional negotiators scrambled all day Thursday and early Friday morning to lock in enough votes in the House.

The impacts of this shutdown, which came just weeks after Democrats and a handful of Republicans including Paul refused to support the last continuing resolution but only lasted a weekend, were expected to be minimal — but a path forward for the bill still remained murky in the House.

It’s not clear if there are enough votes in the House to do so, as liberals are unhappy about the bill not addressing immigration and conservatives oppose the increased spending.

After the vote succeeded, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell kept his word to move to open an immigration debate next week. The majority leader moved to call a vote Monday to proceed to an unrelated House bill that will serve as a vehicle for a process unlike the Senate has seen in recent memory, where senators will be able to offer a number of amendments that are competing immigration proposals to see which ones will secure the 60 votes needed to advance. But that will only happen if the House passes the continuing resolution later Friday morning.

The massive two-year budget deal proposed by Senate leaders Wednesday would raise budget caps by $300 billion in the next two years, increases the debt ceiling and offer up more than $80 billion in disaster relief for hurricane-ravaged Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

About $160 billion would go to the Pentagon and about $128 billion to non-defense programs.

“Our members who are focused on the military are very happy where we landed with that,” Ryan told Hewitt on his radio show in reference to the defense spending caps.

The debt ceiling will be raised by the appropriate amount until March 2019.

Exact spending would be left to the appropriations committees, but included in the funding is $10 billion to invest in infrastructure, $2.9 billion for child care and $3 billion to combat opioid and substance abuse.

The bill also keeps the government running until late March. Funding for the federal government is set to run out Thursday night at midnight, though congressional leaders in both parties have said they don’t expect a shutdown and that the deal will pass.

“I think we will,” Ryan said on Hewitt’s radio show earlier Thursday. “I feel good.”