Tuesday, October 4, 2011

House ends threat of government shutdown, for time being

Reporting from Washington— Bringing a tense debate to a quiet close, the House approved legislation Tuesday to fund the government and replenish disaster aid into next month, ending for now the threat of a government shutdown.

The House voted 352 to 66 to fund the government through Nov. 18. At that time, Congress is expected to be at a standoff again as conservative Republicans push for deeper cuts and policy changes that will run into resistance from Democrats.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday he was confident an agreement could be reached in the weeks ahead on a new spending plan.

Boehner has been forced this year to rely on Democrats to help pass spending measures that have faced resistance from conservatives in the House majority. On Tuesday, 53 Republicans voted no. The Senate has already passed the measure, and President Obama was expected to quickly sign it.

"We need to keep the doors of the government open," said Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, during the floor debate. "Our economy can't handle the instability that comes from the threat of a government shutdown."

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