US Congress approves short-term budget to avoid shutdown

17:05 | 23/12/2017 Cooperation

The Republican-controlled U.S. Congress on Thursday passed a short-term funding bill to keep the federal government running for four more weeks, averting a looming shutdown.

The Senate side of the U.S. Capitol is shown as Congress voted to pass a short-term funding bill to keep the federal government running for four more weeks - Photo by AFP

Members of the House of voted 231-188 for the bill and the Senate followed with a 66 to 32 vote.

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, giving them the ability leverage concessions from the majority party on policy priorities.

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 as children, whose status has been thrown into doubt by President Donald Trump.

In the House, some Republicans had threatened to vote "no" on the temporary funding bill because it does not fund the Department of Defense for the entire year.

Earlier in the day, 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!"

The House also approved $81 billion in funding on Thursday for states and territories devastated by hurricanes and wildfires this summer and fall.

Theo Vnexpress/AFP