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Congress passes 15-day funding bill

By Charles Riley, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Congress decided to keep the government open for business.

On Thursday, the day before a temporary federal budget was set to expire, the Senate passed another Band-Aid measure that will fund federal operations for another 15 days.

The House approved the so-called continuing resolution by a vote of 239 to 178 on Wednesday.

The measure moved to President Obama, who was expected to sign it.

The extension to Dec. 18 is the latest in a series of continuing resolutions approved by lawmakers after Congress failed to pass a new budget at the start of the fiscal year.

Without a formal budget, Congress typically ends up passing continuing resolutions for a month or two at a time. That essentially prevents Washington from shutting down, while lawmakers work on finalizing the new budget.

The fallout of not passing a continuing resolution would be no small matter, and would likely lead to furloughs of federal employees and sharply reduced governmental activities, which could have an impact on the larger economy.

The measure was able to pass the Senate without too much trouble, garnering rare support from both sides of the aisle.

In a letter sent to Democratic Majority Leader Reid earlier this week, Senate Republicans said funding the government is one of their top priorities. To top of page

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