US Congress passes short-term funding bill to avoid government shutdown

Washington, Oct 1 (IANS) The US Congress on Wednesday passed a short-term government spending bill to prevent a government shutdown.

The House voted 277-151 in favor of the bill, which was approved by the Senate on Wednesday in a 78-20 vote, Xinhua news agency reported.

The bill now heads to the President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law before the current funding for government agencies expires at midnight. The fiscal year 2015 for the US government will end at midnight and a new fiscal year will start from October 1.

The bill will keep the government running through December 11. The mid-December deadline is expected to set up the major fight in Washington, as there is still large gap between the conservative Republicans and the Democrats on such issues as the Planned Parenthood, the women’s reproductive health-care service.

Other challenges facing the Congress include raising the debt ceiling and funding the Highway Trust Fund. US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has said that measures used by the Treasury Department to hold off default would last at least through October and probably longer.

Following the passage of the bill, the White House said in a statement that President Obama will sign the bill into law, but called on the Congress to pass a budget that reverses spending cuts known as sequestration.

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