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House narrowly passes short-term spending bill to keep government from shutting down

FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2001, file photo, the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. is shown in an aerial view. The GOP-led Congress is hoping to approve a must-pass spending bill as the clock ticks toward potential government shutdown this weekend. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The House has narrowly passed a short-term spending bill, the first step as the Republican-led Congress tries to avert a government shutdown at midnight Friday.

The vote was 231-188 on Thursday. The stopgap bill keeps money flowing to the Pentagon and domestic agencies through Jan. 19.

The Senate still must vote.

Lawmakers were rushing to complete the bill while they punted on more contentious issues, leaving fights over health care, immigration and national security until next year.

The spending bill is combined with a $2.1 billion fix for an expiring program that pays for veterans to seek care outside the Department of Veterans Affairs system and a temporary fix to ensure states facing shortfalls from a children's health program won't have to purge children from the program.

It also contains a short-term extension for an expiring overseas wiretapping program aimed at tracking terrorists.

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