On Wednesday the U.S. Senate passed a bill, which if passed by the House as expected, will avert a government shutdown. The House and the Senate; Republicans and Democrats have differing views on how to resolve the country's longer term budget challenges.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved legislation to avert a government shutdown next week, freeing Democrats and Republicans to spend the next few months arguing over deeply divided strategies to shrink longer-term budget deficits.
The bill, which would keep government agencies and programs funded through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, must go back to the House of Representative for final approval on Thursday.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers said he was pleased with the bill and believes it can pass the Republican-controlled House.
"It's a great success," Rogers told reporters. He called the effort a "healthy start" toward returning to a normal, bipartisan budgeting process.
The measure, approved by a 73-26 vote, keeps in place $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, but it offers the military and some domestic agencies more flexibility to shift funds within these reduced budgets to higher-priority programs.
Without new government spending legislation enacted by March 27, federal agencies and discretionary programs ranging from the Department of Transportation to national parks would have faced a shutdown.