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Congress approves short-term spending bill to avoid govt. shutdown

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), flanked by Republican lawmakers, speaks during an enrollment ceremony for the conference report to H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. that was passed this week by the House and Senate, at the US Capitol on December 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

The Republican-controlled US Congress has narrowly passed a temporary spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, one day before the deadline.

Representatives voted 231-188 for the bill on Thursday to fund federal government for another four weeks, and then the measure cleared the Senate, 66-32.

A number of Democratic senators opposed the bill because it did not address the fate of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who came to the United States as children, but Democrats from Republican-leaning states voted in favor of the measure.

“They [immigrants] embody the best in our nation: patriotism, hard work, perseverance,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California told the chamber’s Rules Committee on Thursday. “We should not leave them to celebrate the holidays in fear.”

The stopgap legislation would keep the government from closing down at midnight Friday and would give more time to members of Congress to reach an agreement on funding for the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year.

President Donald Trump is now expected to sign the measure. Trump on Thursday accused Democrats of trying to block the bill in order to close down the federal government.

"House Democrats want a SHUTDOWN for the holidays in order to distract from the very popular, just passed, Tax Cuts. House Republicans, don't let this happen," he tweeted. "Pass the (bill) TODAY and keep our Government OPEN!"

“The vast majority of Republicans want to see a DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] solution. They just want to see a DACA solution that’s balanced,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The House also approved $81 billion in funding for states and territories devastated by hurricanes and wildfires this summer and fall.

US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (2nd L) speaks as Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) (L) and Patty Murray (D-WA) listen during a news conference at the Capitol on December 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

“Democrats want to make sure that we have equal bargaining, and we’re not going to allow things like disaster relief go forward without discussing some of the other issues we care about,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

The bill cleared the House on a bipartisan 251-169 tally but stalled in the Senate.


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