The House voted Thursday to extend government funding and avert a shutdown on midnight on Friday.
Lawmakers voted, 298 to 121, to extend funding for most government departments through Dec. 16, in the latest installment in the piecemeal-style governing process that Congress has used to keep government from closing.
But the legislation, which still must pass the Senate, takes a step toward fully funding the government; the bill, called a "minibus," would fully fund government though Sept. 30, 2012 in three areaa: Agriculture, Commerce and Justice, and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. The Senate would have to vote on the bill by the end of the day on Friday.
Because lawmakers were unable to finish work on the remaining nine appropriations bill before the current temporary funding measure, called a "continuing resolution," expires on Nov. 18, they included another continuing resolution to fund the rest of the government through mid-December. If they fail to do so, lawmakers would have to pass yet another CR, which the House and Senate leadership has said they are trying to avoid.
While the House had been expected to approve the new CR rather easily, even the most typical of government funding bills. After taking the government to the brink of shutdown in spring and a default on debt in August. Lawmakers also had to rejigger their CR in September after a segment of conservative Republicans unexpectedly helped fell a CR because it didn't make deep enough cuts.