Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Congress Settles for Stopgap to Avoid Government Shutdown

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Congress Settles for Stopgap to Avoid Government Shutdown

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * Congress took the easy way out to keep the government open on the eve of Donald Trump's 100th day in office, passing a weeklong stopgap spending bill Friday.

Lawmakers cleared the measure easily with just hours to spare before the shutdown deadline at midnight. But with Trump marking his presidency's milestone Saturday, he did not wring any major legislation out of Congress, despite a renewed White House push to revive the House GOP's health care bill in time for a vote that could give him bragging rights.

House leaders are still short of votes for the revised health bill, though they could bring it to the floor next week if they find the support they need. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the plan was to pass the bill "as soon as possible."

Also next week lawmakers plan to pass a $1 trillion package financing the government through Sept. 30, the end of the 2017 fiscal year.

The temporary spending bill keeps the government functioning through next Friday, to allow lawmakers time to wrap up negotiations on the larger measure. The Senate sent the stopgap bill to Trump by voice vote Friday after the House approved it by a lopsided 382-30 margin.

"Today's measure shows the American people that we are making a good-faith effort to keep our government open," said Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. "While this is not ideal, I support this effort to provide our colleagues with more time to reach a final agreement on legislation to fund the government through the fiscal year."

The fight over both bills was embarrassing to the GOP, which has Trump in the White House and majorities in Congress.

Yet even with unified control, it's proving an uphill fight for Republicans to make good on seven years' worth of promises to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama's health care law.

"I'm disappointed that it doesn't go quicker," Trump said of his interactions with Congress, in an interview that aired Friday on Fox News Channel.

At least 18 Republicans, most of them moderates, said they opposed the health care legislation, and many others remained publicly uncommitted. That puts party elders in an uncomfortable spot because if 22 Republicans defect, the bill will fail, assuming all Democrats oppose it. …

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