US Senate backs stop-gap bill to avert government shutdown

WASHINGTON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a bill to fund the federal government through Jan. 19 and avert agency shutdowns as a Friday midnight deadline neared.

By a vote of 66-32, the Senate approved the money to keep most agencies funded at current levels, giving Republicans and Democrats in Congress more time to negotiate a bigger fiscal 2018 spending bill that would run through next Sept. 30.

The bill now goes to President Donald Trump for signing into law.

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Inside meetings held to avert a government shutdown
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Inside meetings held to avert a government shutdown

U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence meet with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) speaks to a reporter in a hallway December 21, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Congress is trying to pass a short term spending bill to fund the government through January 19 and avert a shutdown at midnight on Friday.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks about the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 21, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) listens during a meeting about a bill to avert government shutdown December 21, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spoke on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) arrives at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 21, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell look across toward Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi during a meeting with Congressional leaders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 7, 2017.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

A pedestrian walks past the U.S. Capitol as congressional lawmakers work on a deal to fund the government and avert a shutdown by midnight Friday, on December 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) listens to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) speaking at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 21, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), left, and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), arrive for a Republican conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan speaks at a news conference with House Republican leaders after a closed conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2017.

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Majority Leader, arrives for a Republican conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 21: House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and House Minority Whip, Steny Hoyer (D-MD) attend a House Rules Committee meeting as negotiations continue on funding the government to avert a shutdown at midnight on Friday night, at the U.S. Capitol on December 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, speaks to members of the media near the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. Facing a tough vote count that's currently well short, several Senate Republicans said a stopgap bill to fund the government for just a few days is now under discussion. Photographer: Zach Gibson/ Bloomberg
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks to reporters as he arrives for the weekly Republican party caucus luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC) (C) is trailed by reporters as he walks between meetings at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) walks to the House chamber for continuing resolution vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
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