US Senate approves bill to avert government shutdown; excludes Mexico border wall funding

AFP Washington, DC, USA Dec 20, 2018, 09.37 AM(IST)

File Image Photograph:( AFP )

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The bill will need to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by Trump before midnight on Friday

The US Senate on Wednesday night approved an emergency short-term spending bill that averts a looming government shutdown, but excludes funds that President Donald Trump sought for a US-Mexico border wall.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the measure will fund normal government operations at current levels through February 8 - bringing Washington a step closer to avoiding a potentially crippling closure of some federal offices over next week's coming Christmas holiday.

The bill will need to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by Trump before midnight Friday, when funding is set to expire for key agencies like the Department of Homeland Security.

Republican and Democratic leaders earlier on Wednesday gave strong signals that the stopgap, known as a continuing resolution, would pass Congress and head to the president's desk.

"It's good that our Republican colleagues in the Senate finally realised that they should not shut down the government over a wall that does not have enough support to pass the House or Senate and is not supported by a majority of the country," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said upon the bill clearing the Senate.

White House aides told US media President Trump is inclined to sign the measure.

But it is seen as a defeat for the president, who had argued strenuously for $5 billion in new funding for a wall that he insists would check illegal immigration.