Senate approves funding bill, averting shutdown

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, speaks on his phone during a delay in voting on a short-term funding measure. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In what has become business-as-usual on Capitol Hill, Congress cut a last minute deal Monday night, avoiding a partial government shutdown, assuring continued assistance to those hit by disasters and funding the government past the beginning of the new fiscal year Saturday.

The Senate, after first blocking a House-approved funding measure, passed a compromise bill 79-12 and sent it to the House, where approval is expected.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency helped broker a deal when it disclosed that it had enough funds to find disaster relief efforts through Friday — the end of the fiscal year.  The House bill had included $1 billion in “replenishment” funds to cover what FEMA first said would be a shortfall before the end of the year.

The threat of another budget impasse and possible government shutdown echoed an earlier standoff in this summer that sent financial market plummeting and brought down the U.S. government’s credit rating.

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