In a rare bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives passed a measure to fund the federal government for the next six months, one step in avoiding a bitter political fight before the election.
The measure, known around Washington, D.C., as a continuing resolution, passed 329-91 and funds the government for the next six months.
Each party delivered a near-equal amount of votes to pass the bill. Democrats had 164 ayes while Republicans had 165 members voting for it. Seventy Republicans and 21 Democrats opposed the legislation.
As has been the case in recent years, the House and Senate were unable to pass all 12 appropriations bills funding various pieces of the government. The House passed seven of 12, but the Senate did not vote on any appropriations bills. With the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, many lawmakers felt compelled to vote for the Continuing Resolution to keep the government operating and avoid a nasty political fight before the election.
The Senate is expected to vote on the CR at some point next week.
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan returned to the Capitol for the first time since Mitt Romney selected him as his running mate last month, and voted in favor of the CR. Ryan, R-Wis., also voted for the National Security and Job Protection Act, another GOP attempt to replace the defense sequester.
After the House passed the measure, House Speaker John Boehner moved onto other outstanding business left for members of Congress, and called on the Senate to extend all the current tax rates and replace half a trillion dollars of defense cuts set to take effect Jan. 1, 2013.
“Now it’s time for President Obama and Senate Democrats to work with Republicans to avert the ‘fiscal cliff’ by stopping the tax hikes that threaten our economy and replacing the ‘sequester’ that threatens our national security,” Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote in a statement.
The Budget Control Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama last summer, requires $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts equally divided between defense and domestic programs in the next decade, with the first $109 billion due to take effect Jan. 2, 2013.