US House passes stopgap spending Bill to avert shutdown

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WASHINGTON The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a stopgap Bill to keep the federal government from shutting, hours after President Donald Trump said he would "love" to see a shutdown if immigration legislation was not included.

In another sign of the Republican-controlled Congress' inability to get basic work done, the House in a 245-182 vote sent to the Senate a temporary spending Bill to extend most agency funding until March 23.

It was the fifth such stopgap of the federal fiscal year, which began Oct 1. Stopgaps are needed when Congress fails to approve a full budget on time by that date.

Congress has managed to pass its spending Bills on time in only four of the past 40 years, said researchers.

The Senate was expected to take up the House Bill on Wednesday and is likely change it, requiring it to go back to the House for further action, with a deadline looming to get a finished Bill to Mr Trump for his signature.

The House Bill does not contain changes to US immigration law, a key point of contention.

Senate Democrats were expected to baulk at the Bill's inclusion of an increase in Pentagon funding but exclusion of any increase in non-defence spending. - REUTERS