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US House approves short-term budget to avoid shutdown

[WASHINGTON] The US House of Representatives approved a short-term funding bill on Thursday to keep the federal government running for four more weeks, with pressure on to avoid a looming shutdown.

Representatives voted 231-188 for the bill to fund federal government through January 19, 2018. The Senate has until the end of the day on Friday to do likewise before the government shuts down.

The temporary funding extension would give more time to lawmakers from both parties to reach an agreement on funding for the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year, which ends September 30.

Opposition Democrats have the numbers to block the Republican bill in the Senate, and are using this advantage to obtain concessions from the majority party on policy priorities.

In the House, some Republicans had threatened to vote "no" on the temporary funding bill because it does not fund the Department of Defence for the entire year.

President Donald Trump on Thursday accused Democrats of trying to block the bill in order to close down the federal government.

"House Democrats want a SHUTDOWN for the holidays in order to distract from the very popular, just passed, Tax Cuts. House Republicans, don't let this happen," he tweeted. "Pass the (bill) TODAY and keep our Government OPEN!"

The House also plans to approve US$81 billion in funding for states and territories devastated by hurricanes and wildfires this summer and fall.