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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Officials End Stand-Off Over '96 Budget

WASHINGTON -- Congressional leaders and White House officials announced agreement on a huge bill financing dozens of federal agencies for the rest of the fiscal year, solving a months-long standoff that had become a political embarrassment for both parties.

Nearly seven months after fiscal 1996 began, the two sides Wednesday resolved a handful of stubborn environmental disputes -- in many cases following retreats by Republicans -- and were preparing to push the $160 billion measure through Congress on Thursday.

"We believe we have agreement on remaining issues," said Senate appropriations committee chairman Mark Hatfield, an Oregon Republican, as yet another day of closed-door bargaining came to an end.

About an hour later, presidential press secretary Mike McCurry told reporters President Bill Clinton would sign the legislation as soon as it reaches his desk.

Money for agencies covered by the bill was due to run out at midnight, since they have been financed all fiscal year by a series of temporary stopgap bills. So to head off a third federal shutdown since autumn, the House voted 400 to 14 to keep programs running for 24 more hours, and the Senate, by voice vote, shipped it to Clinton, who signed it at 10:45 p.m. Washington time.

Wednesday's agreement would leave bills financing all federal agencies this year at $23 billion below 1995 levels, Republicans said, enabling them to assert that their agenda of shrinking government had triumphed.