Congress Barely Avoids Government Shutdown

But further budget battles loom
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2015 5:44 PM CDT
Congress Barely Avoids Government Shutdown
The Capitol Dome, covered with scaffolding, is seen on Wednesday as Congress approved a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Congress narrowly avoided a government shutdown Wednesday thanks the House passing a temporary spending measure with mere hours to spare, the New York Times reports. However, the measure only funds the federal government through Dec. 11, meaning more budget battles are on the way. According to the Hill, the mood in Congress was less than jubilant. "It’s to my great dismay that we’ve arrived at this point once again requiring a temporary Band-Aid to buy us time to do our constitutionally mandated duty," Republican Rep. Hal Rogers says. "All we’re doing today is avoiding catastrophe," Democratic Rep. Steve Israel says. The measure passed the Senate 78-20 and the House 277-151. All votes against it were from Republican legislators.

The sticking point for weeks had been House Republicans' desire to keep funding for Planned Parenthood out of any budget, the Hill reports. The House voted three times this month alone to defund the healthcare provider only to see the temporary spending measure head to Obama's desk for approval with Planned Parenthood funding intact. But the budget fight isn't over yet. The Times warns there are "even bigger battles in the months ahead." In addition to avoiding another shutdown in December, Democrats and Republicans will also soon have to negotiate a potential raise of the debt ceiling. “If you think shutting the government down is bad, and I do, it pales in comparison to the government defaulting on all its debts.” Sen. Harry Reid tells the Times. (Read more government shutdown stories.)

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