Republican defections on House spending bills to end shutdown tick up

Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., speaks during the National Air Traffic Controllers Association rally to “Stop the Shutdown” in front of the Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The number of House Republicans supporting Democrats’ bills to reopen the government increased slightly on Thursday.

On Thursday, the House voted 244-180 to pass a Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development spending bill and 243-183 to pass an Agriculture appropriations bill for fiscal 2019.

The votes come after the House passed a Financial Services spending bill on Wednesday. A vote on an Interior-Environment appropriations bill is planned for Friday. The Senate has no plans to hold a vote on any of the bills.

Two Republicans, Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois and Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey, voted for the Agriculture and THUD bills, along with the eight Republicans who on Wednesday voted for the Financial Services spending bill. (Those Republicans were: Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, John Katko of New York, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Will Hurd of Texas, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Elise Stefanik of New York, Fred Upton of Michigan and Greg Walden of Oregon.)

Smith had voted last week for a continuing resolution to reopen the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8.

Another two Republicans, Reps. Peter T. King of New York and Steve Stivers of Ohio voted just for the THUD bill. King had also supported the six-bill appropriations package the House passed last week.

The THUD bill would provide a total of $71.4 billion for those departments. It also includes provisions to retroactively pay federal workers furloughed by the partial government shutdown since Dec. 22. 

The $145.4 billion fiscal 2019 Agriculture spending bill funds rural development programs and the Food and Drug Administration.

Overall, the bill would provide $23.23 billion in discretionary funding and $121.8 billion in mandatory funding, most of which would be dedicated to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.

The FDA would receive $2.97 billion in discretionary funding and $5.4 billion in total, including user fees.

House Democrats are passing the bills in an effort to pressure the Republican-controlled Senate to pass legislation to begin to end that shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate will not consider any spending bills until Democrats reach a compromise with President Donald Trump over his demand for more than $5 billion for a border wall.

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