US Congress averts government shutdown with one-week stopgap bill

James Tennent
Donald Trump inauguration

The US Congress has averted a looming government shutdown by passing a short-term spending bill to claw back an extra week to finalise next year's government funding.

The House of Representatives on Friday (28 April) okayed the bill by 382-30 before sending it to the Senate where it easily passed. The bill now heads to US President Donald Trump for signing into law.

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The funding bill had been mired in partisan fighting after the White House threatened to push an amendment funding Trump's promised border wall with Mexico – a threat that was soon dropped.

Along with the full funding bill being put on hold, the congressional leadership also delayed a vote on a new healthcare bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

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The delays caused a headache for the White House, which had been hoping to have more on the books before Trump reaches his 100-day mark in office on Saturday.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters: "As soon as we have the votes [to pass the healthcare bill], we'll vote on it."

Senator Patrick Leahy, Democratic vice-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the group that oversees government spending, said he supported the stopgap bill "because I believe we are close to a bipartisan agreement that would avoid the devastating consequences of a government shutdown, and save the Congress from once again facing the disruption and humiliation of failing to meet Congress's obligation to fund the basic functions of our government".

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