WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives will begin voting Thursday on a colossal trade, giving Democrats a $1.1 trillion spending bill largely free of controversial policy provisions in exchange for a Republican-backed $629 billion package of tax cuts.
Unable to convince enough members to back such a global deal, House leaders will break them into two votes. On Thursday, the House will vote on the tax package, which is likely to pass with almost exclusively Republican votes. On Friday, the spending package will come to the floor needing a majority of Democrats to pass. That way, Republican conservatives can vote against the spending bill, Democratic liberals can vote against the tax bill, and both bills still pass and a government shutdown is averted.
Congressional leaders unveiled the massive package that will keep government funded through September 2016 in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
The 2,009-page bill abandoned most of the controversial provisions Republicans wanted to add to block President Obama's policies on topics ranging from immigration to wetlands rules to armor-piercing bullets. But it includes a major Republican goal of lifting a 40-year ban on exports of domestic crude oil.