breaking news

Clipper-type weather system could bring snow to area this weekend

House votes on spending bill to keep government open

Congress Thursday appeared poised to effectively evade the last-minute threat of a government shutdown, with the House passing a bill to keep the government open through Jan. 19 and the Senate poised to follow suit late Thursday or early Friday.

The spending bill – which included a $2.85 billion down payment aimed at keeping the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program operational as well as reauthorizing federal surveillance powers – passed after House leadership was able to convince a group of Defense hawks including Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, to overcome their reservations about the spending bill.

Turner said House GOP leadership had secured their support for an earlier bill by promising that a December spending bill would include full-year Defense funding, but, in a Wednesday night meeting on Capitol Hill, GOP leadership acknowledged that they wouldn’t have the votes to pass such a measure.

Instead, in a meeting Thursday morning, GOP leadership and defense hawks were able to agree on a short term boost of $5 billion while Congress prepares for its new Jan. 19 deadline to pass another spending bill.

Turner said he’s hopeful that after the House comes back in January, it will be able to reach a two-year budget deal that will eliminate mandatory spending cuts for Defense that are part of federal law.

The final House vote was 231-188. The delegation’s four Democrats – Reps. Tim Ryan of Niles, Joyce Beatty of Jefferson Township, Marcy Kaptur of Toledo and Marcia Fudge of Cleveland – opposed it. Among Ohio Republicans, only Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, opposed it. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, did not vote.

RELATED: Congress wraps up work for year, punts most decisions into 2018

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, said he was disappointed that the House was passing another short-term funding bill and also disappointed that it did not address a program that keeps children brought to the U.S. as immigrants from being deported. “We need to be making strategic investments in education, infrastructure, and our national defense–something these continuing resolutions do not allow,” he said.

Separately Thursday, the House also approved an $81 billion emergency spending bill aimed at paying for hurricanes and wildfire relief. The bill passed 251-169 with 70 Democrats crossing the aisle to support the Republican bill. Fifty Republicans, including Reps. Warren Davidson of Troy, Steve Chabot of Cincinnati and Jim Jordan of Urbana opposed that bill. Renacci also missed that vote. The remaining Ohio Republicans supported it while all four Ohio Democrats in the House opposed it.

The bill was finished hours before the federal government was scheduled to run out of cash – midnight on Dec. 22.

Though Republicans managed to escape the most scathing criticism about the possibility that they’d allow the Children’s Health Insurance Program to expire just days after passing tax cuts criticized as disproportionately aiding large corporations and wealthy Americans, some Democrats said the CHIP patch was not enough.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said the $2.85 billion in funding would effectively pay for the three months since the program has expired – basically, doling out back pay for unpaid obligations. “This provides no certainty to states that are running CHIP programs,” he said, speaking in front of a photo of Noble Lett, a Dublin first grader who suffers from a rare genetic disorder. Lett’s mother, Crystal, came to D.C. in July to lobby for an extension of the CHIP program, telling Brown that the CHIP program helped make the difference between her family living a middle-class lifestyle and living under the poverty line.

“Congress had time to hand out massive tax cuts for rich Americans and big corporations, but they didn’t have time to help these families,” Brown said. “It’s a disgrace.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Politics

Lawmakers vote to cut state funding from cities using traffic cameras
Lawmakers vote to cut state funding from cities using traffic cameras

Ohio lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to put up more hurdles for cities that want to use automated cameras to enforce traffic laws House Bill 410 is the latest effort by state Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, to staunch use of the cameras that supporters say help make roads safer and opponents call modern-day speed traps designed to rake in revenue...
U.S. Senate passes Portman bill to crack down on sex trafficking
U.S. Senate passes Portman bill to crack down on sex trafficking

The U.S. Senate Wednesday passed a bill that would give victims and prosecutors the right to sue websites that allow posts selling women and young girls – the culmination of a three-year effort by Portman to stop online sex trafficking The bill, which passed the House at the end of February, now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature...
Portman: Firing Mueller would be ‘big mistake’
Portman: Firing Mueller would be ‘big mistake’

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said today that it “would be a big mistake” for President Donald Trump to fire Independent Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian officials trying to influence the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign had any ties to those officials. “I’ve said all along it would be a mistake to...
States take lead in passing gun laws
States take lead in passing gun laws

Despite the pleas from students across the country for Washington to do something about gun violence, the states seem to be ones listening. In the aftermath of a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that took the lives of 17 students, at least two states have moved to pass more stringent gun regulations. A handful of Republican governors — including...
Russia investigation: Special counsel Mueller subpoenas Trump Organization
Russia investigation: Special counsel Mueller subpoenas Trump Organization

  Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its possible ties to President Donald Trump and his associates, according to multiple reports. The subpoena is the first directly connected to one of Trump’s businesses...
More Stories