Stop-gap U.S. spending bill wins final approval

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 29, 2011 11:19 AM
Stop-gap U.S. spending bill wins final approval

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A stop-gap spending bill won final U.S. congressional approval on Thursday to avert a threatened government shutdown that had subjected lawmakers of both political parties to public scorn.

Without objection and at a sparsely attended session, the House of Representatives passed the measure approved by the Senate earlier this week to keep the government operating past Friday, when current fiscal year ends, and into next week.

That will give the full 435-member House time to return from a week-long recess and provide anticipated final approval on Tuesday to a Senate deal that would fund the government through November 18.

Leaders in the Democratic-led Senate reached the bipartisan agreement on Monday after the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it could get through Friday with the money on hand.

This ended a stalemate over whether additional emergency -relief had to be offset with spending cuts.

The battle marked the third time this year that the sharply divided Congress had pushed the U.S. government to the brink.

Earlier fights took the government to the edge of a shutdown in April and to the edge of default in August, drawing outrage and ridicule from the public that helped plunge Congress' approval rating to a record low of 12 percent.

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The deal would fund the government for an additional six weeks at an annual rate of $1.043 trillion, $7 billion below previous funding levels.

During this period, FEMA's disaster relief fund would get $2.65 billion, beginning on Saturday, October 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Eric Walsh)