Congress has agreed to a short-term budget continuing resolution that will keep the government functioning until December 11, 2015. As expected, outgoing speaker John Boehner, as part of the resignation deal he had made with the Freedom Caucus, brought the bill to the floor for a vote and it passed 277-151. Meanwhile the Senate had passed it earlier 78-20.
In both cases it required Democratic votes to pass even though Republicans are in the majority in both the House (246-188) and the Senate (54-46). In the House 178 Democrats and only 91 Republicans voted in favor while zero Democrats and 151 Republicans voted against. In the Senate, all 46 members of the Democratic caucus voted in favor along with 32 Republicans, while 20 Republicans voted against.
Of the four senators running for president, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul voted against and it was interesting that senators Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham skipped the vote, maybe to avoid having to take a stand between governing and pandering.
Efforts to include the defunding of Planned Parenthood as part of the bill were rebuffed by the Republican leadership. In fact, senator Ted Cruz’s attempts to include it were rejected in a manner that suggested that the Republican leadership were so angry with his repeated grandstanding that they were not even going to extend to him the basic courtesies that are routine in that body. They seem to really, really hate him and went out of their way to isolate and humiliate him. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving person.
Of course, this vote means that we will have this whole battle again just before Christmas when shutting down the government and not paying workers will be an even greater hot potato. But there are supposedly talks between Boehner, senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and president Obama to pass a two-year budget deal before Boehner leaves on October 30th. Presumably this will leave funding for Planned Parenthood intact, infuriating those Republicans who have made getting rid of this funding a kind of Holy Grail that they desperately seek.
And of course, we have the ever-popular recurring hostage-taking situation involving raising the debt ceiling that will also fall due sometime between late November and early December. The Republican leadership has said that they do not want the government to default on its obligations but you can expect efforts to link Planned Parenthood defunding to it, resulting in the threat of that happening.