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WASHINGTON — The House passed a stopgap measure Thursday night to fund the government that includes $5 billion for a border wall sought by President Donald Trump. The bill is expected to be rejected in the Senate, and does little to prevent a shutdown on Saturday.
The vote of 217 to 185 on Thursday night puts the House at odds with the Senate, which on Wednesday night passed a funding bill that does not include border wall money.
The Senate will now have to consider the House version before midnight Friday to avert a partial government shutdown, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signaled to members to be ready for a possible vote on Friday at noon.
Democrats, however, will most certainly block the measure in the Senate. With 60 votes needed to advance an appropriations bill to a final vote, Republican senators need Democratic votes to make it over that threshold.
If and when the Senate rejects the House measure, it’s unclear how House GOP leaders plan to proceed. Their only viable options on Friday are either to pass the so-called “clean” spending bill already passed by the Senate or to let the government shut down as Trump recently said he would be “proud” to do.
The House’s approval of billions for border security comes after Trump said Thursday he would not sign a short-term spending bill that did not include such funding.
“Any measure that funds the government has to include border security — not for political purposes, but for our country,” Trump said.
Trump’s comments came after an emergency meeting earlier Thursday at the White House with top House GOP leaders and several conservatives, including House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio, a former Freedom Caucus chairman.
The House’s continuing resolution, which would fund the government until Feb. 8, also includes $8 billion for disaster relief.
The House vote Thursday comes after Democratic leaders had repeatedly told Trump that a bill with $5 billion in border-wall funding couldn’t pass either chamber of Congress.
Trump and Congress must come to agreement on a funding bill by Friday night, or parts of the federal government will shut down Saturday. That would mark the third time this year that the government has at least partially shut down.
The president has been scheduled to leave Washington for a 16-day vacation to Mar-a-Lago in Florida, but White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Thursday night that he would remain in the capital if a shutdown occurs.
If the shutdown lasts until the new year, House Democrats, who are set to take the majority on Jan. 3, will have to come to a deal with a Republican president and GOP-controlled Senate on reopening the government.
Meanwhile, Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., criticized the vote in a Twitter post late Thursday, questioning how the GOP "discovers $5.7 billion for a wall."
"What if we instead added $5.7B in teacher pay?" Ocasio-Cortez wrote. "Or replacing water pipes? Or college tuition/prescription refill subsidies? Or green jobs? But notice how no one’s asking the GOP how they're paying for it."
Rebecca Shabad reported from Washington, and Doha Madani reported from New York