WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives averted a government shutdown late Thursday night, narrowly approving a $1.1 trillion spending bill that will fund most of the government’s agencies until September 2015.
On a vote of 291 to 206, the legislation barely squeaked by, handing a victory to House Republicans who fought back a rebellion by House Democrats angered by a provision that would weaken a key piece of the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul and another that would allow people to substantially increase their political donations to political parties.
The Senate, which also passed a two-day extension to consider the bill, is expected to debate it today.
Industry groups, hoping to avoid the adverse economic impact of the 16-day government shutdown in 2013, were relieved to see the bill advance through the House and head to the Senate, where it still faces hurdles but has the support of the White House, which could give it enough momentum to pass.
The spending package under consideration, which has been dubbed “cromnibus,” would keep federal agencies funded through September 2015, except for the Department of Homeland Security, which would only get an extension through Feb. 27. Republicans deliberately gave the DHS, which oversees many immigration issues, a shorter extension because they are seeking to challenge President Obama’s executive action on immigration next year.
The annual spending bill, if passed and signed into law, would increase the budgets of the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, two key agencies the industry works closely with in Washington.
The bill would increase USTR’s budget to $54.2 million from the current level of $52.6 million. The funding will help boost the agency, which is aiming to wrap up negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord with 11 countries, including Vietnam, the second largest apparel supplier to the U.S. and is also in the early stages of talks on a trade deal with the European Union, a key export market for U.S. products.
The International Trade Administration, a division of the Commerce Department that is leading Obama’s National Export Initiative and houses the Office of Textiles and Apparel, would see a funding increase of $2 million to $472 million in the fiscal year.
The bill would maintain funding levels for Customs and Border Protection, which is part of the DHS, at $10.5 billion.