U.S. House Passes Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a stop-gap spending measure that averts an Oct. 1 government shutdown and extends the U.S. Export-Import Bank's ability to operate for another nine months.

The measure, passed with bipartisan support, also contains a separately approved authorization for the Defense Department to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State militants.

The bill, which now moves to the Senate for consideration on Thursday, extends current funding levels for discretionary government programs and agencies through Dec. 16. This will allow lawmakers time to sort out a longer-term spending measure when they return to Washington after the Nov. 4 mid-term elections.

The temporary spending extension also provides $88 million to help fight the Ebola epidemic in Africa, including $58 million to speed production of the ZMapp antiviral drug and two vaccine candidates, as well as $30 million for additional staff and supplies at the Centers for Disease Control.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Eric Walsh)