Congress avoids government shutdown

DOVER — Congress passed a temporary funding bill Wednesday that averted a government shutdown.

With the federal fiscal year ending at midnight the government would have entered into the second shutdown in three years if no temporary fix was found.

Despite some stiff Republican opposition, both chambers passed a bill that funds the federal government through Dec. 11.

The Senate approved it by a 78-20 vote in the morning, and the House did so 277-151 seven hours later, sending the proposal to President Obama’s desk.

Only Republicans voted against the bill. Conservative Republicans had pushed to defund Planned Parenthood. Undercover videos made earlier this year at a Planned Parenthood office had exposed alleged talk about the sale of organs from aborted fetuses.

The efforts to defund the abortion provider failed, angering many conservatives but keeping the federal government funded for the next two months.

The three members of Delaware’s congressional delegation, all Democrats, supported the bill.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released a statement urging lawmakers to pass a more permanent solution.

“I have a friend who, when asked how he’s doing, responds with a question — ‘Compared to what?’ Well, compared to a government shutdown, a continuing resolution sends the signal that sanity reigns in the Senate,” he said.

“But I’m disappointed that our habit of crisis governing has desensitized us — in a world where we are worried about even keeping the government’s lights on, it’s no wonder we fail to recognize how much we’re failing on our bigger picture responsibilities.”

Temporary funding serves only as a stopgap and hurts the morale of federal employees and ability of businesses and local governments to find success, Sen. Carper insisted.

“We need to pass a comprehensive, bipartisan budget plan that gives government and business certainty and shows the American people that we can lead,” he said. “Then we need to translate those plans into timely appropriations bills that will let agencies and their partners spend their time trying to get better results for the taxpayer dollar, not hastily putting together contingency plans.”

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