WASHINGTON (AP) — 11:15 a.m.
The drama over whether the House will pass legislation preventing a weekend partial government shutdown is essentially over.
The conservative House Freedom Caucus' leader says Republican's chief vote counter has told him he has enough votes to pass a short-term spending bill Thursday, keeping agencies open until Dec. 22.
Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina says his group will likely provide leaders with the needed votes. Conservatives had threatened to oppose the legislation.
Meadows says they want to avoid distractions from the tax bill Republicans plan to push through Congress this month.
Meadows says GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan has promised to try passing future legislation funding the military for the year and leaving fights with Democrats over domestic spending for later.
Congress seems set to prevent a weekend government shutdown. But lawmakers and President Donald Trump still have longer-range disputes to settle over spending, immigration and other issues before they can declare budget peace.
Many on both sides have decided a headline-grabbing federal closure would be a political blunder, at least for now. So the House planned to approve legislation Thursday financing federal agencies through Dec. 22. The Senate seemed ready to follow.
Without legislation, many agencies would run out of money after midnight Friday and grind to a close.
The two-week spending measure is aimed at giving both parties' bargainers more time to reach longer-term budget decisions.
To jumpstart that negotiating, Trump and congressional leaders agreed to meet Thursday an attempt to reach agreements.