House passes bill to keep government running through Dec. 18

The House easily passed on Wednesday a bill to keep federal programs running at current levels through Dec. 18, by a vote of 239-178. 

The bill, which is headed to the Senate, would extend the current continuing resolution (CR)that expires on Friday.

Passing the measure provides Senate and House Democratic leaders with more time to work on a possible omnibus package for fiscal 2011 spending that they hope to complete before they adjourn the 111th Congress by Dec. 18.

House Appropriations ranking member Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) expressed opposition to the CR and any possible omnibus.

"As I have made clear time and time again, I am strongly, unequivocally opposed to any potential omnibus spending bill the Democrat leadership may be planning to bring to the House floor before the end of the year," he said Wednesday. "Likewise, I remain adamantly opposed to extending the CR for the balance of the fiscal year at current spending levels which are, frankly, too darn high."

Two Republicans voted for the temporary measure — Reps. Joseph Cao (La.) and Don Young (Alaska) while eight Democrats voted against it. 

The eight Democrats are Reps. John Adler (N.J.), Bobby Bright (Ala.), Gerry Connolly (Va.), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), Frank Kratovil (Md.), Glenn Nye (Va.), Gary Peters (Mich.) and Gene Taylor (Miss.).