Bloomberg News

Congress Approves Stopgap Measure to Avert Government Shutdown

October 04, 2011

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Congress gave final approval to a stopgap spending measure to keep federal agencies running while lawmakers battle over the government’s fiscal 2012 budget.

The bill, which would keep the government open until Nov. 18, was approved today by the House on a 352-66 vote and now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature. A temporary budget measure funding the government expires tonight.

Lawmakers haven’t approved any of the dozen annual spending bills that would set funding levels for hundreds of programs for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Negotiations are likely to be difficult.

While Congress and the administration have agreed to spend $1.043 trillion in fiscal 2012, they are at odds over how to divide that money.

House Republicans seek a number of changes opposed by Democrats, including ending funding for the public radio network NPR, Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions, and the Americorps volunteer program. Republicans also are proposing cuts in programs such as Pell grants, which help low-income students go to college.

At the same time, House Speaker John Boehner won’t be able to count on support from some Republican colleagues in budget negotiations because they object to the spending levels agreed to as part of a deal reached several months ago to raise the U.S. debt limit.

That may threaten a repeat of last month’s showdown over a disaster-assistance measure that initially failed in the House when many Republicans balked because the bill was attached to the stopgap measure that expires tonight.

The bill is H.R. 2608.

--Editors: Laurie Asseo, Justin Blum

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Faler in Washington at bfaler@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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