Congress keeps government running until Nov. 20

Congress keeps government running until Nov. 20

The House and Senate last night passed a bill that would keep the government open until Nov. 20.

By unanimous consent, lawmakers in both houses passed the first of what likely will be many continuing resolutions to keep the civilian agencies spending at fiscal 2004 levels. President Bush still must sign the bill into law, which he must do before tomorrow. The fiscal year ends today.

Only the Defense Department appropriations bill has been signed into law for 2005. The House and the Senate have passed the Homeland Security Department legislation, but lawmakers still must go to conference to iron out differences.

The House has passed all but the Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills, while the Senate still must pass the seven spending measures for almost every civilian agency.

The continuing resolution provides more money for a number of agencies, including $7.8 million for the Election Assistance Commission, $2.5 million for a possible presidential transition and $360 million for the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund.

Last year, Congress passed seven continuing measures before it finally approved a consolidated appropriations bill in January.

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