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US Senate passes short-term spending bill

Richard Shelby

Washington, Nov 22 (UITV/IANS)- The US Senate has passed a short-term spending bill that could keep the federal government funded through December 20, avoiding a possible government shutdown.

The legislation, which was passed by the House earlier this week, will be sent to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it. The Senate passed it by a vote of 74-20 on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.

In early August, the US Congress passed a bill that will increase the federal budget and lift the debt ceiling for the next two years. The bill, signed by Trump, lifts the budget cap for discretionary spending to $ 1.37 trillion in 2020 and $ 1.375 trillion in 2021, expanding defense outlays, demanded by Republicans, and boosting domestic spending, including health care for veterans, sought by Democrats.

The US Congress did not complete action on appropriations before the end of the fiscal year on September 30, and it enacted a continuing resolution in September that keep the government open through November 21, which means government funding would expire Thursday at midnight.

While Congress is supposed to complete a budget resolution to lay out fiscal principles and set an appropriations level, lawmakers have not adopted one, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan watchdog group. Congress should pass 12 annual spending bills to fund government agencies.

Disagreement centered on the president's demand for 5 billion dollars for a US-Mexico border wall, the same thorny issue that led to a 35-day government shutdown late last year.