Congress approves spending bill, averting government shutdown


Congress averted a government shutdown Wednesday as the Senate and then the House approved a short-term spending bill, allowing lawmakers to avoid a crisis and return home to campaign. The stopgap spending bill, will fund the government at the current level through Dec. 9. The bill also provides $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus, without the restrictions on Planned Parenthood clinics that foiled earlier negotiations. It also includes funding for military infrastructure, housing and other services. House and Senate leaders from both parties are expressing optimism that Congress will finish up this year's appropriations work in the lame-duck session, and not leave it for the next administration to handle. But whether that's through an omnibus bill or several smaller "mini-bus" packages is less clear.