WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate cleared for President Barack Obama’s signature a stopgap spending bill to keep federal government funding from lapsing tonight.
The Senate voted 86-14 for the measure, which extends funding for U.S. agencies and departments through Jan. 18. It’s designed to allow time for Congress to enact later this week a $1.1 trillion measure that would set new spending levels through Sept. 30.
“This is a very short-term extension which will enable us to complete our work,” said Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat.
By passing the three-day extension, lawmakers will avoid a repeat of the 16-day partial government shutdown in October.
The House is scheduled to vote later today on the bipartisan spending bill unveiled Jan. 13. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, yesterday called the measure “imperfect but really very, very good.”
“And it will move us away from the cycle of governing by a crisis that’s gripped this community for such a long time,” Reid told reporters.
In a victory for Democrats, Republicans dropped demands to include provisions derailing some regulatory initiatives and denying funds for implementation of the 2010 health-care law.
Negotiators agreed on a $1.01 trillion base spending level in December as part of a two-year, bipartisan budget agreement. The longer-term spending measure also includes about $573 billion for defense spending in the current fiscal year, with $85.2 billion for overseas combat operations in Afghanistan. That is about $2 billion less than in fiscal year 2013.
The stopgap measure passed today is H.J.Res. 106. The longer-term bill is being offered as an amendment to H.R. 3547.