Congress approves short-term budget to avoid shutdown

Washington: The Republican-controlled US Congress has passed a short-term funding bill to keep the federal government running for four more weeks, averting a looming shutdown.
Members of the House of Representatives voted 231-188 for the bill and the Senate followed with a 66 to 32 vote on Thursday.
The temporary funding extension — which lasts until January 19 —gives more time to lawmakers from both parties to reach an agreement on funding for the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year, which ends September 30.
Opposition Democrats had the numbers to block the Republican bill in the Senate, theoretically giving them the ability to leverage concessions.
Some Democratic senators opposed the measure because it did not address the fate of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children — known as “Dreamers” — whose status has been thrown into doubt by President Donald Trump.
But the fact that the Senate majority leader has agreed to put a bill on the status of those immigrants on the floor in January may have encouraged Democrats not to stand in the way of the funding measure.
In the House, some Republicans had threatened to vote “no” on the temporary funding bill because it does not fund the Department of Defence for the entire year. Earlier on Thursday, Trump accused Democrats of trying to block the bill in order to close down the federal government — something that did not in the end occur.
“House Democrats want a SHUTDOWN for the holidays in order to distract from the very popular, just passed, Tax Cuts. House Republicans, don’t let this happen,” he tweeted. “Pass the (bill) TODAY and keep our Government OPEN!”
While a government shutdown has been averted, there has been no grand compromise on some of the most contentious issues facing the country, such as immigration and healthcare.
Democrats and some Republicans favour giving “Dreamers” legal status, but most Republicans, along with the White House, want the minority party to accept tougher border security measures in exchange for extending that protection. — AFP