by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The House just passed the first of a planned series of “minibus” bills to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2019, but it won near-universal opposition from Democrats as well as a group of conservatives that are threatening another spending fight in September.
The House Friday approved the $145.4 billion Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act.
The bill passed comfortably, 235-179. But 16 Republicans voted against the bill, creeping close to the level that could have sunk the bill if not for the 21 “yes” votes from Democrats who broke with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. If those Democratic votes aren’t there again, future spending bills will be in trouble.
And passing spending bills is expected to get more difficult. Friday’s bill included some of the least controversial spending measures, yet Democrats lined up against it, citing provisions in the bill they oppose and desire to gain leverage by forcing Republicans to try to pass it without them.
The next round of spending bills could lose even more Democrats and garner more opposition from fiscal hawk conservatives. On Friday, most of the 16 Republicans who voted against the minibus were House Freedom Caucus members.