Congress approves stopgap spending bill to prevent federal shutdown

By LISA MASCARO
Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Congress approved a stopgap measure Friday to avoid a government shutdown, but Republican leaders shelved a last-minute effort to also revive efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The House approved a temporary spending bill, 382-30, providing a weeklong extension of federal funding as negotiators continue to hash out a broader deal to keep government running through the remainder of the fiscal year.

The Senate quickly followed, ahead of Friday’s midnight deadline when funding expires.

The final deal is expected to include a boost in military spending, though smaller than what President Donald Trump wanted, and other provisions, including continued federal assistance to prop up a pension fund for retired coal miners that both parties support. Talks will continue next week.

The outcome averts, for now, a shutdown Saturday of federal services but fails to serve up a decisive accomplishment for the president as he marks his first 100 days in office.

Trump had orchestrated the 100-day showdown shortly after he won the election, insisting last year that Congress only partially fund the government so he could put his stamp on federal spending.

However, the president’s demands for funds to start building a border wall with Mexico and his threat to withhold payments for Obamacare have fallen by the wayside as even Republicans, who have the majority in the House and Senate, panned those priorities.

A late push to salvage the Republican promise of dismantling Obamacare also was delayed when it became clear there were not enough votes of support from rank-and-file lawmakers, who are concerned their constituents will lose their health insurance.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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