House passes stopgap spending bill by unanimous consent

The House on Thursday approved a temporary spending bill to prevent a government shutdown at the end of the week. 

The legislation allows the government to function through next Tuesday, giving time for House lawmakers to return to Washington next week to vote on a six-week funding measure already approved by the Senate. 

The House approved the bill by unanimous consent, a move that did not require House members to return to Washington. 

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Passage of the bill was assured after Republicans and Democrats resolved a fight over disaster funding earlier in the week. That allowed the Senate to approve the short-term funding bill, and a longer-term temporary spending bill allowing government operations through Nov. 18.

Senate Democrats and House Republicans resolved their fight over disaster funding after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it did not need the billions in immediate funding for disaster aid that Democrats said was needed. That allowed both parties to drop GOP language that would have given FEMA another $1 billion in immediate funds, and offset that by cutting a Department of Energy program favored by Democrats.

The Senate then accepted the remaining FEMA language in the House bill, which gives the disaster relief agency $2.65 billion.


Both the Oct. 4 and Nov. 18 spending bills approved in the Senate did not include language that rescinds $100 million from a Department of Energy program that made loans to Solyndra. This language was needed to win House passage of a temporary spending bill last week.

However, its removal in the Senate was not seen as a problem in the House on Thursday — any House Republicans who might now be opposed to the bill over Solyndra would have been more than outnumbered by the many House Democrats who are expected to support the bill now that the $1 billion FEMA offset has been taken out.

The clear sense that a majority of the House can now support the final spending compromise is what allowed passage by unanimous consent on Thursday morning. While some opposition to passage by unanimous consent was possible, this would have been impractical for many House members who are in their districts or on travel this week.

Specifically, it would have required the House to reconvene, possibly Friday, only to hold a recorded vote to get the same result: House passage.