A short-term spending bill to avert a US government shutdown has been approved by the House of Representatives.
Six Democrats voted for the bill and 11 Republicans voted against it, as it passed by a margin of 230 to 197.
The measure that would fund the government for another four weeks now heads to the Senate, where Democrats have already indicated they have enough support to block it.
Congress has been scrambling to pass a short-term measure before a shutdown comes into effect over the weekend.
In an attempt to deter Democrats from voting against it, Republican leaders had added a provision to the bill that would extend the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years.
Democrats had fought to continue federal funding for the programme that serves nearly 9 million children. Federal financing for it expired in October and several states are close to exhausting their money.
But not even an extension of CHIP may be enough to get Democratic senators to vote for the spending bill. Many, including some who were viewed to be among the most likely to vote for the measure, have already voiced their opposition.
Several have also made it clear they will not consider voting for another spending measure unless they receive assurances that there will be a permanent legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, or DACA. The programme, which expires in March, allows young immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents to secure work permits and deportation reprieves.
Congress has already passed multiple short-term spending bills, known on Capitol Hill as “continuing resolutions” - or CRs – to try to keep negotiations on immigration and other tough issues alive.
“It’s a mess,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “We can’t keep careening from short-term CR to short-term CR. If this bill passes, there will be no incentive to negotiate and we will be right back here in a month with the same problems at our feet.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his colleagues “on the other side of the aisle do not oppose a single thing in this bill.”
He continued: “They know they can’t possibly explain to our warfighters and veterans, to our seniors, to our opioid treatment centers, to the millions of vulnerable children and their families who depend on S-CHIP for coverage, or to all the Americans who rely on the federal government for critical services like food inspections and Social Security checks.”