Washington, Dec 21 The US House of Representatives has approved more than $5 billion in funding for the President’s border wall in its stopgap spending bill, close to 24 hours before the partial government shutdown deadline.
The spending bill was approved by the House on Thursday with 217 votes in favour (all Republican) and 185 against, only eight of which were cast by Republicans.
The Senate will discuss the bill on Friday, although it is unlikely to approve it since Democrats have enough votes to block it despite being a minority, the US media reported.
The disagreement could force the federal government to partially shutdown once the current funds’ deadline expires Friday midnight. In this case, the funding will expire for agencies that control federal law enforcement agencies, airport security, space exploration and farm programmes.
President Donald Trump had earlier said that he would not sign the bipartisan budget that had been approved by Congress since it did not include funds for his US-Mexico wall. The proposed southern barrier was one of his key campaign pledges.
“Thank you to our great Republican Members of Congress for your vote to fund Border Security and the Wall. The final numbers were 217-185 and many have said that the enthusiasm was greater than they have ever seen before. So proud of you all. Now on to the Senate!”, Trump tweeted after the vote.
He also denounced House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi for publicly suggesting last week that he did not have enough support in the House to pass the bill.
“Soon to be Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week live from the Oval Office that the Republicans didn’t have the votes for Border Security. Today the House Republicans voted and won, 217-185. Nancy does not have to apologize. All I want is great border security!”
The Democrats will take control of the lower House in January and may block the wall’s funding in both chambers, making the fulfilment of one of Trump’s main electoral promises unlikely.
Trump faced two government shutdowns earlier this year: The first in January, which lasted three days and the second in February, which went on for only a few hours.
The Senate had unanimously passed a spending measure on Wednesday night to keep the government running until February 8 ahead of Friday’s deadline.
But the bill did not include border wall money due to which the Republican President said he would not sign any bill that did not contain wall funding. – IANS