The House has passed a measure to give doctors a reprieve from a looming 24 percent cut in their payments from Medicare.
The bill passed by a surprise voice vote. It advances to the Senate, which hopes to pass it before a Monday deadline.
The vote came after an hourlong delay amid doubt that it could muster the two-thirds vote required under fast-track procedures.
Several senior Democrats oppose the bill, saying it would set back efforts to find a permanent fix to a flawed Medicare payment formula that has bedeviled lawmakers for more than a decade.
There's widespread support for a bill to permanently solve the problem, but no agreement on how to pay for it.
Explore further: AMA supports overhaul of Medicare doctors' pay