Congressional Accord Avoids US Goverment Shutdown

Posted September 27th, 2011 at 12:09 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Senate has approved legislation that would temporarily fund government operations and avert a shutdown when the current fiscal year ends on Friday.

In a bipartisan vote , the Democratic-controlled Senate late Monday approved a stopgap spending measure, known as a “continuing resolution,” to keep the government operating through November 18. The approval came after days of behind-the-scenes talks to resolve an impasse over government spending, deficits and taxes.

The Senate also approved a separate short-term continuing resolution to October 4. The bill must be passed by the Republican-led House of Representatives in order to avoid a shutdown.

The dispute began last week when the Democrat-led Senate rejected a House-passed spending bill that would have temporarily funded the government through November 18, but would have required spending cuts in exchange for a funding increase for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The breakthrough came earlier Monday when FEMA announced it had sufficient funds to continue operations until Friday. FEMA officials had previously said that funds would run out earlier this week, threatening disaster relief aid for victims of hurricanes and earthquakes.

President Barack Obama told a town hall meeting in California Monday that ideological differences in Congress are preventing the U.S. government from solving its problems. He urged Congress to act responsibly.

It is not clear what action the House will take, since its members left Friday for a scheduled week-long break. House members could still approve the short-term deal this week since it is technically still in session. GOP leaders could also call the full House back for a vote on the longer resolution.

Analysts say the continuing conflict over government spending is not likely to improve Congress' approval rating with the American public, which surveys show is at an all-time low of about 12 percent.