WASHINGTON — Faced with the politically unappealing prospect of letting the doors of the federal government close later this month, all four House Republicans and one Democrat from Colorado Wednesday voted to keep them open for another half year at least.
“It builds in some additional flexibility we needed for defense and it shifts some of the money to defense from domestic spending and other departments,” Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), said in an interview minutes before the vote on the House floor.
“Today, Democrats and Republicans came together to avoid shutting the government down and ensuring we provide the kind of community services and resources we as Americans have decided are important,” Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden) said in a statement.
The legislation was a $982 billion package that funds the federal government beyond a March 27 shutdown debate and through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. It retains nearly all of the cuts in the growth of government spending that House Republicans had pushed for and President Obama signed into law March 1.
Republican representatives Scott Tipton of Cortez, Cory Gardner of Yuma, and Mike Coffman of Aurora also voted for the legislation.
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) voted against the bill; she was the lone U.S representative from Colorado who opposed it on the House floor. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder) did not vote, although he voted against the bill as a member of the Rules Committee earlier.
None of the five House members released statements about their vote and with members scurrying to the airport after a storm hit the nation’s capital earlier, they could not be reached for comment.
The legislation passed on a 267-151 vote. Economic moderates and conservatives from both parties supported the bill, as 214 Republicans and 53 Democrats cast votes for it. Libertarian- and liberal-leaning members opposed the legislation, as 14 Republicans and 137 Democrats cast votes against it.
The legislation keeps the $85 billion in cuts in the growth of government spending, a process known as sequestration that was part of the Budget Control Act of July 2011. It pays for the Department of Defense, military construction, and Veterans Affairs Department for a full year and adds $7 million for operations management, according to a House aide. It funds discretionary domestic spending programs at 2012 levels.
The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate.