The Senate followed the House of Representatives' lead by passing a two-week spending bill Wednesday to keep the federal agencies operating through March 18. Senate approval of the short-term funding measure, 91-9, came after it passed the House, 335-91, on Tuesday. President Barack Obama later signed the measure.
Obama signs short-term spending bill
The so-called continuing resolution also cuts government spending by about $4 billion, including millions in cuts to healthcare programs. Those cuts represent a two-week share of the $100 billion Republicans have pledged to cut from Obama's proposed fiscal 2011 budget. Democrats pledged to block any further cuts.
The two-week bill will give Senate Democrats and House Republicans more time to find agreement on federal spending levels for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Shortly after Senate passage, Obama asked Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to begin meeting “immediately” with administration officials to “find common ground on a budget that makes sure we are living within our means.”
Obama called for a bipartisan agreement “free of any party's social or political agenda” that cuts spending and reduces the deficit “without damaging economic growth or gutting investments in education, research and development that will create jobs and secure our future.”
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