Congress Avoids Government Shutdown by Passing Stopgap Spending Bill With $1.1 Billion for Zika Research

The bill passed 72-26

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Congress has cleared a stopgap spending bill on Wednesday to fund the government through early December, narrowly making the Friday midnight deadline before federal agencies ran out of money, thus avoiding a government shutdown.

Senators voted 72-26 and later the House voted 342-85 to pass the legislation.

Earlier that morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confirmed that a compromise had been reached when House leadership agreed to approve $220 million for the Flint water crisis.

In addition, the bill included $176.9 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, $1.1 billion for Zika research, $500 million to aid flood victims in Louisiana, West Virginia and Maryland, and $37 million to combat heroin addiction and prescription painkiller abuse.

RELATED VIDEO: Florida Officials Confirm First Cases of Zika Likely Spread by Local Mosquitoes

The White House released a statement praising the Senate’s passage of the bill. “The administration looks forward to working with the Congress to support investments equally balanced between defense and non-defense spending that will create jobs, support middle-class families, contribute to long-term growth, and safeguard national security,” the statement said, according to CNN.

Congress will not be meeting until after the Nov. 8 election. In the meantime, Speaker Paul Ryan announced that Republican members approve the short-term bill explaining, “Basically, we are having a low-drama moment now.”

While, Minority Leader Harry Reid said the House’s latest decision is “a step in the right direction.”

Also on Wednesday, Congress voted to override President Obama’s veto for the first time, passing into law the 9/11 Victims bill which will allow the families of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia. It was ultimately a 97-1 vote in the Senate and a 348-77 vote in the House.

Related Articles