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House passes a short-term spending measure Thursday to avert shutdown

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) leaves the House floor after a vote to extend government funding, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 21, 2017. Congress moved closer on Thursday to avoiding a government shutdown this weekend, after the House voted to keep the government funded into January, a move that would kick fights over issues like immigration, surveillance and health care into the new year. (Zach Gibson/Copyright 2017 The New York Times)

WASHINGTON - The House passed a short-term spending measure Thursday to avert a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday, while a separate $81 billion disaster relief bill to aid victims of recent hurricanes and wildfires appeared to be stalled.

The Senate is expected to vote Thursday evening on the stopgap, which passed the House 231-188 and will push back delicate decisions on spending, immigration, health care and national security until Jan. 17. They are expected to be the final congressional votes of 2017.

House GOP leaders scrambled late Wednesday into Thursday afternoon to gather votes for the legislation, seeking to defuse intraparty squabbling that erupted just hours after Republicans passed a landmark tax overhaul Wednesday.

"It is essential that Congress maintain government programs and services for our nation's stability, the stability of our economy and for the security and well-being of the American people," House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., said Friday on the House floor.