U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a spending bill that would avert, for now, a potential shutdown of the federal government.
The Senate voted 70-30 to pass the measure which funds the federal government through Dec. 16. Earlier in the day, the House of Representatives approved the measure by a 298-121 vote. It now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The Congress failed to pass a year-long spending bill to fund the federal government for the 2012 fiscal year which started last October. Federal agencies have been running under a number of short-term spending bills, also known as Continuing Resolution (CR), with the current funding measure ending at Friday's midnight.
The new month-long bill was bundled with some longer-term funding measures to form a so-called "minibus" spending bill. Apart from the CR, the legislation would also provide 182 billion dollars to finance the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Agriculture, Commerce and Justice, and many smaller agencies through the rest of the current fiscal year.
The stakes of a government shutdown is extremely high for both parties, as budget fights in spring and the debt-ceiling bickering in summer have resulted in deep distrust for Congress, with both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill were rated at historic lows.