WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Senate on Friday voted to pass a stopgap spending bill to fund the federal government's operations from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15 to avert a shutdown.
The bill strips out a controversial provision that would defund President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. The bill passed the Democrats-controlled upper chamber of Congress by 54-44 along party lines.
The bill has a shorter government funding length than the one passed by House of Representatives last week, and it now moves to the Republican-led House for GOP leaders to decide their next move.
The House passed on Sept. 20 a stopgap spending bill, which was championed by the conservatives to fund the government through Dec. 15 while prohibiting funding to implement Obamacare. Without the approval of a spending bill before Oct. 1, the first day of the 2014 fiscal year, the U.S. federal government will have a partial shutdown.
Washington now faces two looming deadlines: one for funding the government in the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1; the other for the debt limit, which needs to be raised by Oct. 17, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
As it is nearing a deadline to pass a government funding bill and raise the government's borrowing capacity, GOP leaders decided to tie the implementation of Obamacare with giving green light to the fiscal wrangle. Conservative Republican lawmakers aimed at using the must-pass spending bill as a vehicle to kill or weaken Obamacare.
The two chambers of Congress have until the end of Monday to pass legislation to avoid a government shutdown. If the House takes up and passes the amended Senate bill this weekend, a government shutdown can be avoided. If the House alters the Senate bill significantly and attach some controversial conditions to that, it's likely that the Senate will not have time to amend it again, increasing the likelihood of a government shutdown.
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