WASHINGTON — Bringing a tense debate to a quiet close, the House approved legislation to fund the government and replenish disaster aid into next month, ending for now the threat of a government shutdown.
The House voted 352-66 on Tuesday to fund the government through Nov. 18. At that time, Congress is expected to be at a standoff again as conservative Republicans push for deeper cuts and policy changes that will run into resistance from Democrats.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Tuesday he was "confident" agreement could be reached in the weeks ahead on a new spending plan.
Boehner has been forced this year to rely on Democrats to help pass spending measures as GOP leaders are unable to overcome resistance from conservatives in their House majority. On Tuesday, 53 Republicans voted no. The Senate has already passed the measure and President Barack Obama was expected to quickly sign it.
New GOP spending proposals to keep the government running past Nov. 18 cut deeply into health and education programs that are dear to Democrats. They also would eliminate funds for family planning clinics, National Public Radio and other programs long targeted by Republicans.
Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, predicted that such an approach would not win Democratic votes.
After a year of protracted budget battles, the debate over fiscal 2012 spending was supposed to be settled as part of the agreement reached this summer during the debt ceiling debate. That compromise set the overall spending level for the year and provided for additional disaster aid.
But several conservative Republicans are continuing to press for steeper cuts. They also will press for any new disaster aid to be offset with reductions elsewhere.
"We've got to do better than this," said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a conservative leader, who voted against the bill Tuesday.