NEW YORK (CNN) - Lawmakers are one step closer to approving a temporary measure that will keep the federal government operating.
On Wednesday, the House approved the measure to give the government another 15-day extension of the continuing resolution under which it is currently operating by a vote of 239 to 178.
The bill must now be approved by the Senate, and quick. The current continuing resolution is set to expire Friday.
The extension passed by the House is the latest in a series of so-called continuing resolutions approved by lawmakers after Congress failed to pass a new budget at the start of the fiscal year.
Without a formal budget, Congress typically ends up passing continuing resolutions for a month or two at a time. That essentially prevents Washington from shutting down, while lawmakers work on finalizing the new budget.
The fallout of not passing a continuing resolution would be no small matter, and would likely lead to furloughs of federal employees and sharply reduced governmental activities, which could have an impact on the larger economy.
The measure should pass the Senate without too much trouble, and an aide for Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid told CNN they hope to vote on the resolution Thursday.
In a letter sent to Reid earlier this week, Senate Republicans said funding the government is one of their top priorities.