Congress keeps funds flowing until Nov. 20

The House and Senate late last month 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 civilian agencies' spending at fiscal 2004 levels.

Only the Defense Department appropriations bill has been signed into law for 2005. The House and 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. The Senate still must pass the seven spending measures for almost every civilian agency.

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

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