CLOSE CALL

Congress Avoids Shutdown

Looks like Congress has once again narrowly avoided a government shutdown. Democrats and Republicans agreed to compromise on a $1 trillion spending bill which will be voted on Friday. Still, the disagreement over a payroll tax extension remains unsolved. This is the third potential shutdown the U.S. government has faced this year. Earlier Thursday House Republicans unveiled the hefty spending bill and threatened to power it through the chamber, aiming to force the Democrat-led Senate to: one, wrap up Congress' work for the year so they can take a holiday break; two, drop the so-called "millionaires tax" in the spending bill; three, give ground on how to fund the separate payroll tax holiday and unemployment insurance benefits, which both expire by the end of the year and are set to be the next big partisan battles. If the short-term spending bill passes the vote Thursday, it would mostly likely ensure all three victories for the Republicans. Meanwhile, the Senate passed a $662 billion defense bill, which Obama is expected to sign.