WASHINGTON - The U.S. Congress has averted a federal government shutdown with the passage of a stopgap bill that gives lawmakers another week to work out federal spending. President Donald Trump signed the bill late Friday.
The Senate passed the measure Friday by voice vote without opposition after the House earlier approved the spending bill with large bipartisan support.
The measure keeps federal spending at current levels and prevents a shutdown of many parts of the federal government on Saturday, Trump's 100th day in office. It gives lawmakers another week to agree on legislation that would keep the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends September 30.
The appropriations bill was supposed to be funded by last Oct. 1, but has been delayed until now with Congress passing a succession of stopgap measures.
Lawmakers say they are moving closer to a final bill, but say there are still several difficult issues to come to terms with, including defense spending. Trump is seeking a $30 billion increase in military spending, while Democrats are arguing that other domestic programs need more funds.
Stopgap bill gives leaders extra time
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the stopgap bill "will carry us through next week so that a bipartisan agreement can be reached."
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who said there are still significant differences between Republicans and Democrats, said, "We're willing to extend things for a little bit more time in hopes that the same kind of progress can continue to be made."
Negotiations between the two sides have already led to some compromises. Trump has backed off his earlier demand that the spending legislation include funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Trump administration also agreed to continue funding for a major component of the health care program of former President Barack Obama, known as Obamacare, despite Republicans efforts to overturn it.