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HOUSE GIVES OK TO STOPGAP SPENDING MEASURE WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT

Reflecting a bipartisan consensus that another government shutdown would be awful politics, the House voted overwhelmingly today to keep agencies running while lawmakers and President Clinton sort through lingering budget fights.

The House approved legislation by voice vote to keep the government functioning through Nov. 7, when lawmakers hope to adjourn for the year. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., said the Senate probably would vote on the measure Thursday -- the day an earlier stopgap bill expires.

"This is the right kind of action we should be taking under these circumstances," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston, R-La. "It will be signed, and I hope we can get onto completing our work" by Nov. 7. The bill is needed because only five of the 13 spending bills for fiscal 1998, which began Oct. 1, have been enacted.

Congressional leaders hope the extension will give lawmakers enough time to strike compromises among themselves and with Clinton on lingering issues. These include GOP opposition to a White House plan for national testing of students in reading and math, and to a new Census technique that Republicans fear would produce additional Democratic-dominated congressional districts.

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