From Msnbc.com's Carrie Dann and NBC's Luke Russert
The House has passed a stopgap measure to continue funding the federal government until April 8, with over 50 Republicans bucking their leadership to oppose the three-week spending bill.
Fifty-four Republicans – more than many observers expected -- voted against the continuing resolution, which GOP critics said demonstrated a lack of seriousness about solving the nation’s long-term budget woes.
Earlier this month, only six Republicans opposed their House leaders and voted no on a similar two-week extension containing comparable budget cuts. But patience with the lurching funding measures has begun to run out in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle.
Despite the GOP revolt, the bill was propelled to passage by 85 Democrats who joined with Republican leaders to support the measure, which cuts about $6 billion in spending. Over 100 Democrats supported the similar measure that passed earlier this month.
The measure passed 271-158. The Senate is expected to approve it later this week, staving off a government shutdown for another 3 weeks.
But the defections mean that the chances are slim that yet another temporary funding bill could pass the House if both chambers fail to approve a budget before April 8 that covers the rest of the fiscal year.
*** UPDATE *** Here's the White House's statement:
"The short-term funding bill passed in the House of Representatives today gives Congress some breathing room to find consensus on a long-term measure that funds the government through the end of the fiscal year. The President urges the Senate to pass this bill to avoid a government shutdown that would be harmful to our economic recovery. But the President has been clear: with the wide range of issues facing our nation, we cannot keep funding the government in two or three week increments. It is time for us to come together, find common ground and resolve this issue in a sensible way. There is no disagreement on whether to cut spending to put us on a path to live within our means, but we can't sacrifice critical investments that will help us out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build our global competitors to win the future. We have already met Republicans halfway, and we are optimistic that Congress can get this done."
NBC's Domenico Montanaro notes: That last line, however, is going to cause raise questions among Republicans if the White House is negotiating in good faith. The White House's $50 billion contention is off a budget that never passed and funding levels they're not operating under.