Congress OKs spend­ing bill, avert­ing shut­down

San Francisco Chronicle - - NATION - By Matthew Daly Matthew Daly is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

WASH­ING­TON — Mov­ing to head off a gov­ern­ment shut­down that nei­ther party wants, Congress over­whelm­ingly ap­proved a com­pro­mise spend­ing bill and pledged agree­ment on a short­term bill to fund the gov­ern­ment through early De­cem­ber.

The House on Thurs­day ap­proved a $147 bil­lion pack­age to fund the En­ergy Depart­ment, veter­ans’ pro­grams and the leg­isla­tive branch. The 377-20 vote came a day af­ter the Se­nate passed the mea­sure, 92-5. The bill now goes to White House, where Pres­i­dent Trump is ex­pected to sign it.

The quick ac­tion in the House and Se­nate came as leg­isla­tive lead­ers an­nounced agree­ment on a bill to fund the rest of the gov­ern­ment through Dec. 7. Rep. Rod­ney Frel­inghuy­sen, R-N.J., chair­man of the House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee, said the short-term plan would be added to a sep­a­rate spend­ing bill that law­mak­ers are ne­go­ti­at­ing to cover the De­fense Depart­ment and la­bor, health and ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams.

The stop­gap bill would not ad­dress Trump’s long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mex­ico border. GOP lead­ers have said they pre­fer to re­solve the is­sue af­ter the Nov. 6 elec­tions.

It was not clear whether Trump would back this ap­proach, but a Repub­li­can aide said the White House had not in­di­cated any im­me­di­ate op­po­si­tion.

The bill ap­proved Thurs­day was the first of three spend­ing mea­sures Congress hopes to ap­prove this month to avoid a gov­ern­ment shut­down when the new bud­get year be­gins Oct. 1.

Pas­sage was so im­por­tant to GOP lead­ers that they moved up the Se­nate vote, cit­ing the threat of Hur­ri­cane Florence bear­ing down on the south­east coast. The House and Se­nate both ad­journed for the week fol­low­ing the bud­get votes.

Ap­proval of the spend­ing bill marked a de­par­ture from re­cent years, when Congress rou­tinely ig­nored agency-spe­cific spend­ing mea­sures in fa­vor of mas­sive pack­ages that funded the en­tire gov­ern­ment at once.

J. Scott Applewhite / As­so­ci­ated Press

The bill does not ad­dress Pres­i­dent Trump’s long-promised border wall with Mex­ico. GOP lead­ers pre­fer to re­solve that is­sue af­ter the Novem­ber elec­tions.

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