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Prospects dim as US scrambles to avoid government shutdown

The US inched closer to a government shutdown Friday as the prospects of a successful short-term funding deal grow bleaker.

Congress faces a deadline of Saturday midnight, to pass a new budget before thousands of federal employees are placed on unpaid leave.

The Senate has forged ahead with plans for a temporary funding agreement - which House Republicans have opposed.

The Republican-led House of Representatives will likely vote on its own short-term spending bill today.

Their plan would extend funding through the end of October but it has deep spending cuts that make it a non-starter for Democrats, who run the Senate.

The conflicting House and Senate funding plans have increased the likelihood of a shutdown and have exposed deep rifts in the Republican party.

The Senate overwhelmingly passed a procedural vote on a short-term funding bill that has bipartisan support in the chamber.

The bill would avoid a government shutdown until November 17, giving Congress more time to reach a deal on a longer-term budget.