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House OKs Spending Bill to Avert Government Shutdown for Now

The House of Representatives passed a stopgap spending measure Tuesday in a 352-66 vote, once again temporarily avoiding a government shutdown and potential backlash from voters.

The U.S. Capitol; photo by Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesSpeaker John Boehner and other House leaders gained support from 170 Democrats to ensure passage, a tactic that may become more the norm than the exception due to hardline conservatives’ opposition to spending levels.

Last month, 48 Tea Party Republicans joined Democrats to hand House leaders an embarrassing defeat, causing the initial version of the continuing resolution, known as the CR, to be reworked to pass.

This time around, House leaders said before the vote that would not happen.

“I think you’ll find bipartisan support of the bill,” said Republican vote-counter, Kevin McCarthy of California.

The CR, which cleared the Democratic-led Senate last week, funds the government through Nov. 18, but appears to be just another in a series of upcoming battles over spending in Washington. On the agenda are a large fiscal 2012 spending package that encompasses all appropriations bills, possible recommendations from the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (known as the “Super Committee”), and a Senate-passed worker-retraining measure meant to accompany trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Boehner faces possible conservative revolts when those trade pacts hit the House floor next week due to spending levels.

Democrats say that there is an ongoing tug-of-war between House GOP leaders and rank-and-file conservatives that has dominated the legislative year, and that Speaker Boehner may become increasingly reliant on what some Democratic aides say may be an uncomfortable allegiance with Democrats to pass any major bills.

“We voted on the CR because we think it’s good policy and appropriate,” said Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, “and we’re pleased that we ultimately have arrived at what could have been done two weeks ago without any drama or theater.”

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