WASHINGTON: The Republican-led Congress on Friday passed a bill to avert a government shutdown at midnight and give U.S. lawmakers another week to work out federal spending through the end of the fiscal year, with tricky issues like defense spending still unresolved.
The Senate passed the stopgap measure by voice vote without opposition after the House earlier approved it by a tally of 382-30. The measure now goes to Republican President Donald Trump to sign into law, preventing a shutdown of many parts of the federal government on Saturday, his 100th day in office.
The bill provides federal funding until the end of May 5, allowing lawmakers to hammer out legislation in the coming days to keep the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.
Congress has been tied in knots over $1 trillion in spending priorities for months. Lawmakers were supposed to have taken care of the current fiscal year appropriations bills by last Oct. 1.
Democrats backed the stopgap bill a day after House Republican leaders again put off a vote on major healthcare legislation sought by Trump and opposed by Democrats to dismantle the 2010 Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare, after Republican moderates balked at provisions added to entice hard-line conservatives.
In the bigger spending bill to be negotiated in the coming days, it remained unclear whether Republicans would prevail in their effort to sharply boost defense spending without similar increases for other domestic programs. Trump has proposed a $30 billion spending hike for the Pentagon for the rest of this fiscal year.
House and Senate negotiators also have been struggling over funding to make a healthcare program for coal miners permanent and whether to plug a gap in Puerto Rico's Medicaid program, the government health insurance program for the poor.