House approves measure to avoid government shutdown

By Daniel Enoch

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2014 -- The House today approved a continuing resolution (CR) that keeps the government running beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year along with an amendment that provides for arming and training the Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

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The CR funding government agencies including USDA and FDA through Dec. 11 passed by a vote of 319-108.  The Syrian rebel amendment, which was requested by President Barack Obama, was approved by a smaller margin, 273-156.

The legislation now goes to the Senate where approval could come as early as Thursday. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a rare bipartisan moment, said they would support the amended resolution. The measure also includes a short-term reauthorization for the Export-Import Bank.

Quick Senate passage would allow Congress to head home for a long campaign break before the November elections without the threat of a government shutdown hanging over lawmakers' heads.

The White House, in a Statement of Administration Policy released before the House vote, said it appreciated the “strong bipartisan effort” that produced the Syria amendment.

The amendment “provides authorities that are essential in equipping the administration with the tools necessary to provide a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy to address the growing threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” the White House said.

At the same time, the White House said it is encouraging Congress to pass a long-term extension of the Export-Import Bank “to provide certainty to job creators that export U.S. made products and services.”

Republicans provided 176 yes votes for the amended CR and 53 no votes. Democrats voted 143-55 for the measure.

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