December 21, 2017 / 1:01 PM / a month ago

U.S. Congress to push stop-gap funding bill to avert shutdown

WASHINGTON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. Congress plan to move forward with a plan that will keep the federal government operating past Friday when funding expires and also directs some funds toward defense and health, according to a copy of the bill released on Thursday.

The House of Representatives was aiming to pass a bill before Friday’s midnight deadline that would keep federal agencies humming along at current funding levels through Jan. 19, averting a shutdown that would have created political havoc.

The measure, released online by the U.S. House Rules Committee, calls for Department of Defense funding for missile defense and ship repair.

It includes $2.85 billion to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program through March 2018, and more funding for community health centers and the Indian Health Service.

Additionally, the plan includes a 30-day extension of the National Security Agency’s expiring internet surveillance program, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Other provisions address funding for veterans and the U.S Coast Guard, according to the measure. A U.S. House aide also said the plan would address flood insurance.

Republican U.S. Representative Mark Meadows, head of the U.S. House Republican’s Freedom Caucus, told CNN in an interview that a vote had not yet been scheduled but was expected later on Thursday or by Friday morning at the latest. (Reporting by Richard Cowan and Susan Heavey; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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