Congress Votes to Avoid Government Shutdown

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., right, appear before the House Rules Committee asking to add protections to the government funding bill for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, known as "dreamers," on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017. With a government shutdown clock ticking toward a midnight Friday deadline, House Republican leaders struggled on Wednesday to unite the GOP rank and file behind a must-pass temporary spending bill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., right, appear before the House Rules Committee asking to add protections to the government funding bill for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, known as “dreamers,” on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017. With a government shutdown clock ticking toward a midnight Friday deadline, House Republican leaders struggled on Wednesday to unite the GOP rank and file behind a must-pass temporary spending bill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Republican-led Congress narrowly passed a temporary spending bill Thursday to avert a government shutdown, doing the bare minimum in a sprint toward the holidays and punting disputes on immigration, health care and the budget to next year. The measure passed the House on a 231-188 vote over Democratic opposition and then cleared the Senate, 66-32, with Democrats from Republican-leaning states providing many of the key votes. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the measure.

The stopgap legislation would keep the government from closing down at midnight Friday. It has traversed a tortured path, encountering resistance from the GOP’s most ardent allies of the military, as well as opposition from Democrats who demanded but were denied a vote on giving immigrants brought to the country as children and in the country illegally an opportunity to become citizens. The wrap-up measure allows Republicans controlling Washington to savor their win on this week’s $1.5 trillion tax package — even as they kick a full lineup of leftover work into the new year.

Congress will return in January facing enormous challenges on immigration, the federal budget, health care and national security along with legislation to increase the government’s authority to borrow money. Each of those items is sure to test the unity that Republicans are enjoying now.