House passes legislation to fund agriculture, transportation, housing programs
The House on Thursday passed two more bills to re-open shuttered federal agencies that would provide full-year funding for programs dealing with agriculture, transportation, and housing as the partial government shutdown closes in on entering its fourth week.
House Democrats are trying to force the issue and attract support from Republicans anxious to end the shutdown by passing individual spending bills this week that would fund items like food stamps and infrastructure projects.
The GOP has dismissed the gambit as mere theatrics. The White House has already threatened a veto of the bills and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he’s not going to take up spending bills that President Trump does not support.
One bill, totaling about $23 billion, would fund the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, including loan programs for farmers and food and nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.
The other bill, totaling $71.4 billion, would fund the Department of Transportation, including the Federal Aviation Administration and Federal Transit Administration, as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Democrats have predicted that GOP defections will increase as they pass more and more individual spending bills, though they ticked up only slightly from Wednesday, when eight Republican members joined with Democrats to pass a bill to fund the Treasury Department, the IRS, and other agencies.
Democrats plan to pass a spending bill that funds the Interior Department and other agencies on Friday.
Legislation that mirrors the four individual bills was part of a larger package the House already passed last week.