Congress dodges shutdown after disaster aid fight

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A bitterly divided Congress has nearly worked its way out of a nasty fight over disaster aid, but only by abruptly abandoning efforts to immediately refill almost empty federal relief accounts.

Senate leaders moved quickly Monday to jettison the money from a pending Democratic measure and the chamber instead passed bare-bones legislation to avert a government shutdown this weekend.

That measure would release a $2.7 billion infusion of disaster money Saturday that would make sure federal help continues to flow to victims of Hurricane Irene and other recent disasters.

The lowest common denominator solution came after Republicans stymied efforts by Senate Democrats for a $6.9 billion disaster aid package.