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Congress Averts Government Shutdown With Hours To Spare (Video)

Boehner and other GOP leaders avoid government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Boehner and other GOP leaders avoid government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Though conditions on the ground looked eerily similar to those that caused a two-week government shutdown two years ago, the House on Wednesday passed legislation to keep federal operations afloat through Dec. 11.  

With hours to spare, the chamber voted on the stopgap spending bill, 277-151, with every Democrat, joined by 91 Republicans, voting “yes” and 151 Republicans voting “no.” In a move to appease conservatives who wanted to tie defunding Planned Parenthood to the must-pass spending bill, the House also advanced a so-called “correction enrollment” to “correct” the continuing resolution to strip the embattled women’s health organization of federal funds.  

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Members voted 241-185 on what was ultimately a messaging vehicle that won’t even advance in the Senate, with three dissatisfied Republicans joining nearly every Democrat (only three voted yes) in opposition.  

President Barack Obama will sign the 10-week CR before midnight, when current government funding was set to expire. The Senate sent the House the legislation earlier in the day. GOP leaders who didn’t want to risk the potential political nightmare of another government shutdown ahead of a presidential election year breathed a sign of relief, but a larger fight remains.  

Before Dec. 11, Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate will have to negotiate new spending levels to replace sequestration, as Obama has said he would veto any long-term spending bill that adheres to current caps. Republicans will still likely fight to strip funding from Planned Parenthood, and they might also demand leaders try to extract concessions from the White House as a condition of raising the debt limit, which must be dealt with soon.

The next big fiscal battle will also be the first big test for the new GOP leadership slate, to be installed in early November after Speaker John A. Boehner officially resigns Oct. 30.

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