US Congress leaders reach deal to avoid gov't shutdown

WASHINGTON - Democrats and Republicans in Congress have reached a deal to fund federal government activities through next March and eliminate any threat of agency shut downs that could upset voters ahead of the November 6 presidential and congressional elections, legislative aides said on Tuesday.
The deal, which policymakers were expected to announce later on Tuesday, would fund discretionary federal programs - from defense and foreign aid to education, transportation and medical research - at levels specified in last year's debt limit deal, or about at an annual rate of $1.047 trillion.The full House of Representatives and Senate would still need to approve the measure by September 30, the end of the current fiscal year.
The temporary spending bill is needed because Congress has been unable to pass a series of appropriations bills to fund the government in fiscal 2013, which runs from this October 1 to September 30, 2013.
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