WASHINGTON – The Republican-led United States House of Representatives approved on Tuesday a new short-term budget measure for the federal government.
The bill must be approved by the Senate before the deadline at midnight on Thursday in order to avoid a repeat of the three-day partial shutdown in January.
With 245 votes in favor and 182 against, the House passed the temporary spending bill that would extend most federal agency funding until March 23, and boost Pentagon spending over the next eight months.
Republicans still need to reach an agreement with Democrats in order for the bill to be approved by the Senate.
Senate leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Chuck Schumer, announced on Tuesday that they were close to a two-year budget agreement that would establish spending levels for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.
“There are still some outstanding issues to be resolved, but we are closer to an agreement than we have ever been,” Schumer said in the Senate plenary.
Congress must approve the measure before midnight Thursday to avoid a repeat of January’s partial government shutdown which lasted for three days.
That impasse was triggered by Democrats refusal to approve federal funds until a deal protecting undocumented immigrants who entered the US as children, known as “Dreamers,” was brokered.
Around 700,000 of these immigrants face losing the protected status granted to them under an Obama-era policy known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), after US President Donald Trump repealed the initiative last year.