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January 02, 2018

*-- House plans vote on spending bill to avoid government shutdown --*

House Republican leaders have scheduled a vote Thursday on a spending bill to avoid a shutdown of the government and renewed funding for a children's healthcare plan.

The House plans to vote on a continuing resolution on short-term spending and a disaster relief package for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and wildfires.

CNN reported that the Republicans believe they have enough votes to pass the bill for funding until Jan. 19.

A stop-funding bill approved earlier this month expires on midnight Friday.

"I don't think there are going to be any Dem votes there," Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., said Wednesday night.

Democrats have opposed the spending bill because they want other matters addressed, including renewed funding for the Children's Health Insurance program and legal protection for Dreamers, who that are part of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

"What we have said to them [Republicans], everything we have suggested to you is bipartisan," Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calfornia said at a news conference Thursday.

The funding measure is getting additional Republican support.
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House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, told reporters Thursday he will vote for a another short-term bill. He originally had demanded that the Pentagon receive a full-year spending bill with added resources.

"I am pretty optimistic that we will be able to have an agreement in January that starts the rebuilding process of the military, but we've got to quit using the military as a political pawn," said Thornberry, who conferred with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

The votes come one day after the House and Senate approved their major tax overhaul.

The new funding bill includes nearly $3 billion in funding for the CHIP, which expired in September. It provides medical care for 9 million children whose parents don't qualify for Medicaid and can't afford insurance.

Almost two-thirds of states said they will run out of money by March unless Congress provides more funding.

Democrats have opposed an earlier bill that provided five years of funding because money was taken from another fund to pay for children's inoculations and treatment for lead poisoning.

"It was cannibalizing children's healthcare in order to pay for another version of children's healthcare," Pelosi said.
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Pelosi also urged her colleagues in a letter to vote against a short-term continuing resolution because they want an extension or permanent legislative version of DACA.

Republicans rejected a plea from Pelosi at a House Rules Committee meeting Thursday morning to include the legal protections for Dreamers in the short-term bill. Instead, House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said they will deal with DACA next year.

President Donald Trump said he is counting on Republicans now to ensure the government avoids a shutdown.

"House Democrats want a SHUTDOWN for the holidays in order to distract from the very popular, just passed, Tax Cuts. House Republicans, don't let this happen. Pass the C.R. TODAY and keep our Government OPEN!," he posted on Twitter.

Once the House passes legislation on a simple majority, the Senate needs 60 votes for approval. It then goes to Trump for his signature.

The Republicans have 52 members in Congress and Sen. John McCain is in Arizona recuperating from chemotherapy to treat brain cancer.