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Congress Approved Transportation Funding/Student Loan Bill

Washington (CNN) — Congress gave final approval Friday to a giant transportation funding bill as part of a package that includes a measure holding down interest rates on federal student loans.

Both issues are priorities of President Barack Obama’s, and the legislation demonstrated rare bipartisan agreement in the deeply divided Congress.

The package won Senate approval with a 74-19 vote after passing the House 373-52.

Hours later, President Barack Obama signed into a law a bill that temporarily — from June 30 through July 6 — assures there will be continued funding for certain transportation projects and halts potential student loan interest rate hikes, according to a news release issued by the White House shortly after 8 p.m. Friday.

He could sign the larger legislation at a later date, presumably by the end of next week before the stopgap bill expires.

Compromises on the transportation bill and the student loan issue, as well as a third component reauthorizing national flood insurance, came in rare bipartisan agreement during the same week that House Republicans enraged Democrats by voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

None of the rancor from Thursday’s contempt vote was evident Friday, as legislators involved in reaching the compromise praised the bipartisan effort.

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