March 7, 2009 in Nation/World

Congress OKs stopgap funds

Associated Press
 

WASHINGTON – With a $410 billion catchall spending bill stalled in the Senate and a midnight deadline looming, Congress rushed through stopgap legislation Friday to keep the government running for another five days.

The House passed the bill by a 328-50 vote; the Senate acted by unanimous voice vote. President Barack Obama signed the measure later in the day, White House officials said early Friday evening.

The stopgap measure was needed because on Thursday night, Senate Republicans unexpectedly put the brakes on the sweeping measure. The so-called omnibus bill would award domestic agencies with big spending increases and it also contains about 8,000 pet projects sought by lawmakers.

With most Republicans denouncing the bill as too costly and a few Democrats opposing it as well, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called off a key procedural vote – just one vote short of the 60 needed to send the measure to the White House.

With the vote postponed until at least Tuesday, both the House and Senate had to pass the stopgap spending measure by midnight Friday to prevent a shutdown of most domestic agencies.

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