US Senate passes bill to avoid Oct. 1 government shutdown

WASHINGTON - A deeply divided and unproductive Congress wrapped up its final business before November's elections early on Saturday as the US Senate passed a stopgap measure to fund federal programs and avoid an Oct. 1 government shutdown.
The 62-30 vote on the funding bill, which now moves to US President Barack Obama's desk to be signed into law, was delayed by days of partisan bickering over votes on unrelated measures aimed at boosting both Democrats' and Republicans' political fortunes.
For the new fiscal year which begins on Oct. 1, the $524 billion measure slightly raises discretionary spending - which funds government agencies and everything from defense to national parks - from current levels.