House Republicans succeeded Wednesday in passing the first bill in their series of "mini-continuing resolutions" to reopen portions of the government one small piece at a time: a measure to allow the District of Columbia to operate during the shutdown.
Democrats, longtime friends of the District, were inclined to vote against the bill as part of a bigger strategy to oppose any Republican fix to a government shutdown except for a "clean" short-term CR.
The majority of Democrats, in fact, voted "no" on the same piece of legislation the day before. Because it was brought to the floor Tuesday under an expedited procedure that required two-thirds of those present to vote affirmatively, Democratic opposition caused that bill to fail.
On Wednesday, however, Democrats chose not to quibble with Republicans, allowing the measure to pass on a voice vote, rather than requesting the clerk record the yeas and nays.
It might be that Democrats didn't want — on two consecutive days — to go on the record as opposing a cause they have typically supported. Republicans, generally disinclined to give the District expanded autonomy and self-determination, shamed Democrats for turning their backs on the District and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., who on Tuesday was nearly brought to tears pleading with her colleagues to vote "yes."
The D.C. funding bill now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to be blocked from consideration on the floor by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who, like House Democrats, doesn't want to encourage the GOP piecemeal CR strategy.
President Barack Obama has also pledged to veto any of these CR's, should they come across his desk.