Congress Averts Shutdown, for Now

House clears spending bill that puts off larger fights
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 4, 2011 4:31 PM CDT
Congress Averts Shutdown, for Now
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., right, listens as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks during a House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee hearing Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – The House passed a spending bill today to fund the government for six weeks, delaying a series of battles over spending and policy that include everything from labor law and environmental regulations to abortion and the Pentagon budget. The 352-66 vote sent the measure to President Obama in time to avert a government shutdown at midnight. That ended a skirmish over disaster aid that seemed to signal far more trouble ahead as Obama and a divided Congress begin ironing out hundreds of differences, big and small, on a $1 trillion-plus pile of 12 unfinished spending bills.

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Fifty-three Republicans defected on the measure. For weeks, officials fought over disaster aid after the House insisted that $1 billion in emergency aid for victims of Hurricane Irene and other natural disasters should have been offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget. House and Senate Democrats strongly opposed the idea, particularly over House GOP cuts to a loan guarantee program that helps automakers retool factories to meet new fuel economy standards. But a face-saving compromise last week—the Senate dropped both the $1 billion in aid and the cuts to clean energy programs—paved the way for today's vote. (Read more House of Representatives stories.)

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