Swapping crisis for compromise, the House narrowly approved $1.1 trillion in government-wide spending last night after President Obama and Republicans joined forces to override Democratic complaints that the bill would also ease bank regulations imposed after the economy's near-collapse in 2008. The 219-206 vote cleared the way for a final showdown in the Senate on the bill—the last major measure of a two-year Congress far better known for gridlock than for bipartisan achievement.
Hours before the vote, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi delivered a rare public rebuke to Obama, saying she was "enormously disappointed" he had decided to embrace legislation that she described as an attempt at blackmail by Republicans. Despite the drama, 57 Democrats supported the bill—and the outbreak of Democratic bickering left Republicans in the unusual position of bystanders rather than participants with the federal government due to run out of funds at midnight. Even so, there was no threat of a shutdown in federal services—and no sign of the brinkmanship that marked other, similar episodes. Instead, the House passed a measure providing a 48-hour extension in existing funding to give the Senate time to act on the larger bill. (Read more government spending stories.)