Federal government can keep operating until midnight Thursday
White House, Congress agree to temporary spending bill
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House and Congress have agreed to a two-day stopgap spending bill that will keep the government operating through midnight Thursday, the White House said.
The current stopgap bill, known as a continuing resolution, expires at midnight Tuesday. President Clinton reached the agreement in a 90-minute Oval Office meeting with Republican and Democratic leaders.
No other pending budget or policy issues were resolved, White House and congressional aides said.
With Clinton leaving office in January, lawmakers had hoped the November 7 election would provide a clear direction for settling the remaining budget issues.
But that didn't happen.
Education funds tied to injury rules
The White House is pushing for $7.5 billion in additional education spending, a $1 increase in the minimum wage over two years, amnesty for illegal immigrants who entered the country after 1986 and hate crimes legislation.
Republicans are willing to accept the education spending, as long as they win language in the larger spending bill that gives the next president the power to rescind new federal regulations on repetitive-stress injuries. The Clinton administration has published its final rules on the issue, but the GOP Congress wants to give the next president power to strike them.
Republicans are unlikely to approve a higher minimum wage, but may do so if momentum builds for the $240-billion, 10-year tax cut passed earlier this year. That appears doubtful in a short lame-duck session.
'Not going to give the farm' away
The GOP is also opposed to granting amnesty to undocumented workers or passing hate crimes legislation, according to senior GOP congressional sources.
Both the White House and Congress are moving toward agreement on $31.5 billion in reimbursements to hospitals, nursing homes and other Medicare providers.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, House Majority Leader Dick Armey, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt were among those lawmakers who met with the president.
Lawmakers say they hope to complete their budget work during the lame-duck session despite the uncertainty surrounding the presidential election.
"Most of us would like to see us get done this week if we can," Senate Assistant Majority Leader Don Nickles, an Oklahoma Republican, said. "But we are not going to give away the farm to get there."
CNN White House Correspondent Major Garrett and Reuters contributed to this report.