By Safvan Allahverdi
The U.S. Congress on Thursday passed a temporary funding bill to prevent a government shutdown.
The stopgap spending bill, which passed 235-193 on the floor, will keep the government running for another two weeks through Dec. 22.
The spending bill is a package that contains smaller regular appropriations bills which could be passed with only one vote in each house.
There are 12 different regular appropriations bills that need to be passed each year to fund federal departments and avoid a shutdown.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where it is likely to be cleared before federal funding runs out at midnight Friday.
The vote came as President Donald Trump and congressional leaders from both the Democrat and Republican parties came together Thursday to find ways to avoid a possible government shutdown.
"We hope that we’re going to make some great progress for our country. I think that will happen and we’ll appreciate it very much,” Trump said at the beginning of his conversation with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Trump was blaming Democrats for blocking talks on the bill with demands related to an immigration issue.
“We are here to make progress. We have some important issues that we share with you,” Pelosi told Trump at the White House, including the opioid crisis, funding for veterans and an expired children’s health insurance program.
“All things that have bipartisan support in the Congress.”
Some senior Democrats said they would vote against a spending bill if Congress does not address nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who may lose their ability to live and work in the U.S. due to Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September.
DACA was an American immigration policy that allowed some individuals who illegally entered the country as children to live and be employed with a special work permit.
But the White House last week said it does not want the immigration plan sought by Democrats to be included in any spending bill.
Compounding the difficulties faced by lawmakers seeking to avert a shutdown were efforts to include a removal on military spending caps and extensions of federal payments for critical health care subsidies Trump scrapped in October.The last government shutdown lasted two weeks in 2013 and cost the U.S. billions of dollars each day.