Washington, D.C. (CNN) - Congress passed a temporary spending measure on Thursday that will keep the federal government funded and open for business until December 16. The continuing resolution was necessary because the federal government is set to run out of money by midnight Friday.
The House passed the measure by a vote of 298-121 Thursday afternoon, and the Senate followed suit Thursday evening, passing the measure 70-30.
The measure was passed as part of a larger spending bill for a number of government agencies for fiscal 2012 - including the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration, the Transportation Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, among others.
Overall spending levels in the new measure conform to the outlines of an agreement reached in Congress earlier this year.
The previous continuing resolution was enacted October 5 as part of a deal providing an additional $2.65 billion in disaster relief needed in the wake of Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and a series of tornadoes and wildfires.
In addition to early October, partial government shutdowns were also threatened during budget talks in the spring and the debt ceiling debate over the summer.
The short-term funding measures are necessary because Congress has failed to complete its full budget appropriations process, which has become a victim of sharp partisan divisions over spending priorities.
The last extension was intended to provide more time to debate and pass spending measures covering the remainder of fiscal year 2012. It's been over 15 years, however, since both chambers of Congress passed the full range of such bills.
Instead, Congress has relied on other ways to extend spending authority, such as continuing resolutions or so-called "omnibus" measures that bundle together multiple appropriations bills.
– CNN's Alan Silverleib contributed to this report.