Senate passes stopgap spending bill, allowing Congress to avert partial government shutdown

By Mike DeBonis and Erica Werner, Congress passed a stopgap spending bill Thursday, averting a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday but pushing into January showdowns on spending, immigration, health care and national security. Among the issues still to be resolved is federal aid for victims of recent hurricanes and wildfires. The House on Thursday passed a separate $81 billion disaster relief bill, but the Senate did not immediately take it up amid Democratic objections. The stopgap extends federal funding through Jan. 19 and provides temporary extensions of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has languished politically since it expired in October, a veterans health-care program and a warrantless surveillance program set to expire Jan. 1. “It is essential that Congress maintain government programs and services for our nation’s stability, the stability of our economy, and for the security and well-being of the American people,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said Friday on the House floor, urging lawmakers to support the stopgap. It passed the House 231 to 188 and cleared the Senate 66 to 32. Thursday’s congressional votes are expected to be the last of 2017. The votes came after House GOP leaders scrambled Wednesday and Thursday to gather votes to keep the government open, seeking to defuse intraparty squabbling that erupted just hours after Republicans passed a landmark tax overhaul Wednesday. Between assurances from House...

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