Congress passes short-term Bill

THE Republican-led Congress averted a US Government shutdown on Friday and gave lawmakers another week to work out federal spending through September 30, with tricky issues like defence spending still unresolved.

The Senate passed a stopgap spending Bill by voice vote without opposition after the House earlier approved it by a tally of 382-30.

President Donald Trump later signed the legislation, preventing a shutdown of many parts of the federal government on Saturday, his 100th day in office.

The Bill provides federal funding through May 5, allowing lawmakers to hammer out legislation in the coming days to keep the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year ending September 30.

Congress for months has been tied in knots trying to untangle $1 trillion in spending priorities. Lawmakers were supposed to have taken care of the current fiscal year appropriations Bills by last October 1.

Democrats backed the stopgap Bill a day after House Republican leaders again put off a vote on major healthcare legislation sought by Mr 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.

Republicans, already facing accusations from the opposition Democrats that they are unable to govern even though they control Congress and the White House, are motivated to avert the first government shutdown since 2013, but contentious matters remain on a spending Bill covering the final five months of the fiscal year.

With Mr Trump seeking $30 billion in new defence spending in the measure and Democrats arguing that other domestic programs also need more money, congressional negotiators are moving toward a compromise.

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