A nearly empty House of Representatives today passed a stopgap spending measure to avert a government shutdown this weekend and refill disaster aid coffers. The measure passed the House with the unanimous permission of all members present in a chamber that was nearly deserted because Congress is on vacation. It now goes to the White House for President Obama's signature.
Just three lawmakers were there in a session that lasted all of five minutes: Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican, who presided; Rep. John Culberson, a Republican, who offered the motion to pass the bill; and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who represented Democrats. The compromise measure, which passed the Senate Monday night, funds the government through next Tuesday, allowing lawmakers to return next week and hold a recorded vote on another measure that would keep the government open through mid-November. The recorded tally will allow Tea Party opponents to register their opposition. (Read more House of Representatives stories.)