House votes to reopen Treasury Dept., IRS

The Democratic-led House approved a bill Wednesday to reopen the Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service and Small Business Administration, among other federal agencies.

The chamber voted 240-188 to advance the measure, with eight Republicans bucking party lines to back the bill, which is the first of four bills expected to be brought to the floor by Democrats.

The Republicans who voted to advance the measure Wednesday included Reps. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Will Hurd (Texas), Fred Upton (Mich.), John Katko (N.Y.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Greg Walden (Ore.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Herrera Beutler (Wash.).

Senate Republicans assert they will not take up any spending legislation to end the partial shutdown unless President Trump has agreed to sign it.

The odds of a shutdown ending anytime soon appeared to worsen on Wednesday, with Trump and Democratic leaders ripping each other after a meeting at the White House ended abruptly.

Trump said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refused to consider his demand for money to fund construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a major sticking point in negotiations.

Democrats stressed on the 19th day of the shutdown that they will not support any legislation that provides the $5.7 billion requested by Trump for the border barrier.

Trump has repeatedly said he won’t sign any spending bill to reopen about 25 percent of the federal government unless it provides the wall funding.

Democratic leaders have called on the president to support legislation to reopen other areas of the government ahead of attempting to tackle funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

Top Democrats argue Republicans are holding the government hostage over the border wall while Republicans allege Democrats are playing politics and failing to negotiate in good faith.

Democrats saw a slight uptick in Republican members willing to support a clean bill after just seven GOP lawmakers voted last week in favor of a spending package aimed at funding the bulk of the remaining agencies through the end of the fiscal year and five Republican members voting in favor of a continuing resolution to fund DHS through Feb. 8.

Alex Hall

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