Federal Government Avoids Shutdown

— -- Party leaders have kept their promise of no government shutdown Wednesday afternoon – at least for the time being.

Congress passed a short-term spending bill to fund the government ahead of the midnight deadline, when the new fiscal year begins.

The Senate passed a continuing resolution Wednesday morning that will fund the government at previous years’ levels. In the House, a minority of Republicans joined with Democrats to send the bill to President Obama’s desk. Most Republicans opposed the measure over concerns with funding Planned Parenthood.

It will fund the government until Dec. 11, setting up a showdown in Congress down the road on several fronts.

The fiercest will be over long-term government funding. The administration and Democrats want to lift sequester spending caps on defense and domestic spending, while Republicans want to keep spending in check.

A summer patch in infrastructure funding is also set to expire on Oct. 29, when money will run out in the federal fund that pays for highway repair projects. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, are reportedly working on a proposal to pay for long-term infrastructure funding through international tax code reform.

Congressional leaders are preparing for budget negotiations to address the looming funding cliff and spending deadlines.

“The president and Speaker Boehner and I spoke about getting started on the discussions last week,” McConnell said. “I would expect them to start very soon.”

"If there's a way to get things done so I don't burden my successor, I'll get them finished," he said Tuesday.

While Democrats have signaled their willingness to work with Boehner, conservatives eyeing his lieutenants closely ahead of leadership elections could make it difficult for Republicans to compromise before the threat of another deadline.

Planned Parenthood funding will also complicate any future negotiations, as House Republicans are working on budget reconciliation legislation to target the federal funding the organization receives.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the likely next House Speaker, voted to keep the government open Wednesday.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who is running to replace McCarthy, also voted for the bill. His opponent in the majority leader race, Rep. Tom Price, voted against it.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Top Stories

Top Stories

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events