- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 11, 2014

The $1.1 trillion spending bill narrowly survived its first test Thursday when the House approved rules for debate, bringing the bill to the floor and setting up an afternoon showdown that will expose just how deep the divisions run within the Democratic Party.

Senate Democrats were pleading for the bill’s passage, saying it was the best deal possible in divided government, but a House Democratic leader said the bill was so bad it would “fundamentally change our republic” because it altered campaign finance laws and made changes to how banks can trade derivatives.

“A lot of our trust in the legislative process has been destroyed,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, New York Democrat.

But Republicans said they wrote the compromise with Senate Democrats, and said if it didn’t pass, Democrats would be sending the government toward its second shutdown in 15 months.

First, however, Republicans had to grapple with a rebellion within their own ranks on the vote over the rules for debate. They narrowly prevailed on a 214-212 tally, but only after muscling several Republicans to switch their votes from “No” to “Yes.”

The final change came from Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, a Michigan Republican who lost his primary election earlier this year. After he filled out the vote card officially switching, he walked down the aisle to jeers from Democrats and handshakes and back-slaps from Republicans who’d been in danger of seeing their work scuttled by the rebellion.

Conservative Republicans argue the spending bill doesn’t cut President Obama’s priorities enough, and it also doesn’t immediately halt the president’s new deportation amnesty.

GOP leaders said they’ll have a chance to fight the amnesty early next year.

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