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U.S. House approves stopgap budget bill

WASHINGTON — The bill would fund the government through September; the Senate has yet to take it up.

WASHINGTON — As expected, the U.S. House passed a bill Wednesday to fund the government through September, the first step to avoiding a government shutdown at the end of the month.

Most Republicans voted for the bill (which passed 267-151), including all three Minnesotans. Fourteen Democrats, Collin Peterson and Tim Walz among them, also voted for the bill.

Many Democrats took to the floor before the vote to decry the $85 billion in sequestration cuts included the bill. Many in the party want to replace sequestration altogether, while some would at least like to map out those cuts for federal departments, something the House bill would do only for the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs (Walz was in the latter category when I talked to him Tuesday, though he joined some moderate Democrats in voting for the bill today).

The continuing resolution now goes to the Senate, where both Democrats and Republicans seem ready to work on making the bill acceptable to both parties. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barb Mikulski indicated Tuesday she’s planning to integrate the sequestration cuts into the resolution, but detail exactly how they should take effect, at least for a few large government agencies. Sequestration hacks blindly across the board; lawmakers would prefer to plan out those cuts instead (Politico has the story here).

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Meanwhile, the House is done voting for the week, skipping town early due to a snowstorm that wielded more rain and wind than accumulating snowfall, though it still managed to empty out much of downtown Washington on Wednesday.

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com.