The U.S. House has approved a continuing resolution to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year and avoid a government shutdown.
The House passed the $982 billion budget measure Wednesday - with a tally of 267 in favor and 151 against - that would keep in place the $85 billion in automatic government spending cuts known in Washington as the sequester. The House bill would provide the Pentagon with new flexibility within the law, however, to better manage some of its budget cuts.
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida, deplored what she called the "meat ax cuts" [indiscriminate cuts] that remained in the continuing resolution.
Republican Congressman Tom Latham from Iowa said the resolution, though, was the "best alternative" that gives government offices "certainty" about their funding.
The measure is now expected to be taken up in the Senate, which is likely to modify the bill.
The passage comes just days after U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned travelers to get to U.S. airports early because government spending cuts are creating long security and customs lines.
Napolitano said Monday that several busy airports, including those in Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles, now have very long lines after the mandatory spending cuts took effect last Friday.
The cut in airport services is just one result of the $85 billion in government spending cuts that took effect Saturday after Congress and the White House failed to reach a budget agreement.