House approves spending bill

The House today voted to approve a spending bill that, if approved by the Senate, will keep the federal government up and running through September. The vote was 309-118 (NOTE: or 310-117, according to other reports I’ve seen).

It had majority support from both Democrats and Republicans. More than 90 percent of Democrats supported it. Republicans were much more closely divided, with only about 55 percent of the caucus backing the measure. Most conservatives voted no.

The partisan breakdown tends to confirm that the Democrats got the better of the deal. This despite the fact that the Republicans have majorities in both chambers of Congress, plus a president who bills himself as a phenomenal negotiator.

So what happened? It seems obvious that Republicans were more fearful of the consequences of a government shutdown than were the Democrats. In addition, I suspect that at least half of the Republican caucus has only a mild commitment (and not even that in some cases) to the things conservatives were pushing for — e.g., cutting spending, defunding planned parenthood, and building a wall.

I also suspect that President Trump’s commitment to such items is weak. The wall may be an exception — not so much because Trump thinks it’s a great a idea, but because he campaigned so hard on it.

I believe that Trump, along with a majority of House Republican caucus, is committed to significantly increasing spending and for defense and border security (sans wall). Thus, it isn’t surprising that the spending bill does both.

Even here, though, the Republicans didn’t get a full loaf. As I understand it, they got about half of what Trump was seeking for border security and about two-thirds of what he wanted for defense.

That’s not terrible. However, it’s not good enough to offset what the Democrats are getting.

Candidate Trump liked to say that under his presidency, he would win so much on behalf of America that we would get tired of winning. As yet, I don’t feel remotely tired.