House Republicans overcame a major obstacle late Thursday when the most conservative wing of the conference announced its support for the short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.  The measure passed the House on mostly party lines with a 230-197 vote.

The bill’s passage in the House was secured Thursday when Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, announced his support for the legislation after securing promises from Republican leaders on conservative-backed measures involving immigration and the military.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) yesterday had expressed confidence that the spending bill would pass, to keep the government operating through February 16.  The measure funds the low-income children’s health insurance program, known as CHIP, for six years and rolls back several taxes in the Affordable Care Act. Republican leaders gambled that rank-and-file Republicans did not wish to risk being blamed for a government shutdown and, in the end, supported the short-term bill.

But the fate of the measure is uncertain in the Senate where several Republican senators have expressed their opposition to the measure and Democrats appear confident they can block the measure from advancing.  The Senate needs to give its approval to the short-term measure in order to avert a shutdown early Saturday morning and Democrats will be needed to overcome an expected filibuster.

With only a 51-49 margin of Republican control in the Senate, and McCain absent because of cancer treatment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has a small margin for error. Senate Democrats have said that they are confidant that they have the votes to block the short-term spending bill.  However, top Senate Republicans appear worried  about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in line.  “I’m concerned the we may not have 60 votes in the Senate,” Senator John Thune (R-SD) said yesterday.  “And I think that is obviously problematic.”

If the measure is passed in the Senate, it would be the fourth short-term spending bill since the fiscal year began in October.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has proposed a shorter stop-gap measure, lasting just four or five days to be used as a hard deadline on an agreement on government spending levels and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program knows as DACA.

“Passing a short term continuing resolution ensures that both sides remain at the table and can quickly reach a deal that funds our military, our domestic priorities like the fight against opioids, protects Dreamers, funds health care, and aid for those harmed by recent disasters,” Schumer said.

President Trump criticized the spending bill earlier this week, blasting the GOP congressional leadership’s decision to attach funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, saying the program should be part of a long-term solution, not a 30-day or short term extension.  Speaker Ryan spoke to the president and the White House issued a statement clarifying that the president supported the continuing resolution that was proposed, and now passed, in the House.

If the government closes and its employees are furloughed, it will be the first time under unified party control of Congress and the While House.

The last government shutdown was from October 1 to October 17, 2013 because neither legislation appropriating funds for fiscal year 2014, nor a continuing resolution for the interim authorization of appropriations for fiscal year 2014, was enacted in time.