Congress dodges shutdown after disaster aid fight

Congress dodges

A bitterly divided and poll-battered Congress has almost worked its way out of a nasty fight over disaster aid, but only by abruptly abandoning efforts to immediately refill approximately empty federal disaster relief accounts.

Instead, with the administration assuring lawmakers that the direct infusion of $1 billion in disaster money wasn't needed to avoid a cutoff this week, Senate leaders stimulated quickly Monday to jettison the money from a pending Democratic measure and in its place pass bare-bones legislation to avert a government shutdown at week's end.

That measure, approved by the Senate on a 79-12 vote, would keep the government running until mid-November the House appears likely to endorse that measure next week when it proceeds from a weeklong recess in the meantime, a one-week stopgap gauge needed to avoid a government shutdown at midnight Friday appears likely to be adopt in a sparsely attended session Thursday the weeklong gauge would provide a $2.7 billion infusion of disaster money that would make sure federal help continue to flow to wounded of Hurricane Irene and other recent disasters.

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