The US looks like it will avert a government shutdown after the House of Representatives passed a spending bill. The bill still needs to clear the US Senate where changes are expected to be made.

USA Kapitol in Washington (Getty Images/AFP/S. Loeb)

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved another stopgap bill to keep the federal government from shutting down.

The Senate was expected to vote on the new spending bill on Wednesday. Senators were likely to alter the House-passed bill and return it to the House for final passage.

Read more: Why Donald Trump’s immigration deal is a hard sell

No immigration clause

  • By a mostly partisan vote of 245-182, the Republican-controlled House sent a temporary spending bill to the Senate.
  • It is the fifth temporary spending bill of the fiscal year.
  • The bill does not include any specifics on US immigration, in a bid to avoid to a showdown.
  • Senate Democrats are expected to balk at a House provision that would raise Pentagon funding through September 30 without also raising non-defense spending.
  • The temporary funding measure would also reauthorize funding for community health centers, which enjoy widespread bipartisan support.
  • The prospective longer-term budget agreement would give both the Pentagon and domestic agencies relief from a budget freeze that lawmakers say threatens military readiness

Political reaction

Senate Majority leader Republican Mitch McConnell and Minority leader Democrat Chuck Schumer reported progress Tuesday morning. “I think we’re on the way to getting an agreement and getting it very soon,” said McConnell.

“To have five continuing resolutions is a statement of incompetence and ineptitude,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor. With Republicans in control of the House, the Senate and the White House, the fifth short-term spending bill demonstrated their “failure to govern,” she said.

Let’s be very clear: the reason Congress is facing another stop-gap spending bill is because of @HouseGOP & @SenateGOP incompetence. They must stop governing from manufactured crisis to crisis, & work with Dems to pass the many urgent priorities of the American people.

Read moreDemocrats vote to temporarily end US government shutdown

If it passes the Senate: The stopgap spending bill would keep the government open through to March 23 thus allowing time to write and pass detailed follow-up “omnibus” legislation to fund the government through the September 30 end of the fiscal year.

Why have there been five stopgap bills? Congress cannot agree to terms on a long term budget agreement so the stopgap bills buys everyone time to negotiate.

What happens next? The Senate will vote on the bill on Wednesday morning. It is expected to make some changes, pass the bill and send it back to the House for a vote.

av/aw (Reuters, DPA, afp, Reuters)

COURTESY: DW

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