- The Washington Times - Friday, January 11, 2019

The House on Friday passed another spending bill that would reopen parts of the federal government, including the Interior Department, Environmental Protection Agency and national parks.

The House also approved legislation the Senate passed Thursday by voice vote to ensure that federal employees who are furloughed or working without pay would receive back pay when the partial government shutdown ends.

Even amid a White House veto threat, House Democrats are passing individual spending bills this week that don’t include new money for President Trump’s border wall. They’re trying to ratchet up pressure on Republicans anxious to end the shutdown that’s about to enter its fourth week.

The spending bill includes about $36 billion for the Department of Interior, National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency and Smithsonian Institution, among other priorities.

The House passed the bill on a 240-179 vote, with 10 Republicans joining Democrats to pass it.

The bill mandating back pay, which now heads to Mr. Trump’s desk, sailed through on a 411-7 vote.

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt recently told Congress he’s ordered the park service to use recreation fee funds to clean up and maintain parks, amid reports of trash and waste buildups at some of the sites that have remained open.

Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo have been closed because of the shutdown.

The House has also passed three other spending bills this week to reopen shuttered agencies such as the Treasury Department, the IRS, and the Departments of Agriculture and Housing and Urban Development.

The GOP defections on the four bills have ranged between eight and 12.

The White House has also already issued veto threats for those bills as well, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he won’t take up legislation Mr. Trump won’t sign.

Mr. Trump said he’s considering declaring a national emergency to get the wall built if Congress can’t strike a deal. The White House has directed officials to look into supplemental funding that would be used to build it.

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