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Congress Looks to Short-Term Funding to Keep Government’s Lights On

Congressional leaders have officially filed legislation that would keep the government funded past a December 11 deadline, when current spending levels are scheduled to expire.

The deal sets up a House vote on the funding legislation for later this week, but leaders may also punt the deadline for several days to allow sufficient time to pass the $1.1 trillion spending package through both houses of Congress.

With last-minute complications over unrelated legislative attachments slowing down the public posting of the massive spending bill until late Tuesday night, House aides now say that the chamber will likely vote this week on a two or three day extension that would essentially bump the deadline further into the month.

That would give the House time to pass the bill and offer a few days for the Senate -- if it needs them -- to take it up before a government shutdown goes into effect. The $1.1 trillion spending package would fund almost all of the government until next fall but would only allow short-term funds for the Department of Homeland Security, which heads up immigration policy.

Some conservative Republicans are expected to vote against the spending package, saying it doesn’t do enough to curb the president’s executive action to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. But many Democrats – who are eager to make their mark on spending for next year – are likely to support it.

All of that means that leadership aides still say they expect to avoid a shutdown, even if it means a few extra days of work before the holiday vacation.

- Carrie Dann and Luke Russert