SANTIAGO, Chile – President Bush (search) on Sunday signed a stopgap spending bill (search) that keeps the government running while Congress sorts out remaining issues related to a more permanent federal spending package.
Congress on Saturday approved the temporary legislation, which finances almost every domestic federal department and agency plus foreign aid until Dec. 3. The last such short-term spending measure expired at midnight Saturday; the new one was flown here overnight by military plane so Bush could sign it as soon as possible.
Bush was in Chile over the weekend, attending an economic summit of Asia-Pacific leaders and a state visit with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos (search).
White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said there had been no disruption in government functioning or services, despite the gap between the two measures.
Also Saturday, Congress approved the $388 billion spending bill financing the same programs through the rest of the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. But one line in the bill would have given two committee chairmen and their assistants access to people's income tax returns, so leaders agreed not to send the bill to Bush for his signature until that issue is fixed in separate legislation.
The Senate has approved a resolution nullifying that measure and House leaders promised to do so Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the temporary measure gives the White House nearly three weeks to mull over the larger package's provisions. But Bush has already said he would sign that one too.
"This legislation is in keeping with my goal to further strengthen the economy by cutting the budget deficit in half over five years," he said in a statement issued late Saturday night. "With resources already provided to continue to fight the war on terror and to protect the homeland, we have held to the fiscally responsible limits Congress and I agreed to and still adequately funded our domestic priorities like education, health care and veterans programs."