Government shutdown temporarily averted

Congress approves measure to fund the government through March 18

Congress has approved, and President Barack Obama has signed, a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government until March 18, essentially prolonging the debate over the government’s budget for this fiscal year and temporarily staving off fears of employee furloughs resulting from a government shutdown.

The bill passed the House March 1 and the Senate passed the measure today by 91-9. The current CR expires March 4. 

Shortly after the Senate vote, the Obama administration released a statement indicating it will be more involved in upcoming deliberations on a longer-term bill. Obama signed the measure later in the day.


Related story:

House passes funding through March 18


“Living with the threat of a shutdown every few weeks is not responsible, and it puts our economic progress in jeopardy,” Obama said in the statement.  “That’s why I’m calling on Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress to begin meeting immediately with the vice president, my chief of staff, and budget director so we can find common ground on a budget that makes sure we are living within our means.” 

The CR immediately slashes $4 billion in federal spending by cutting eight programs that were marked for significant cuts or termination in Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget request. Other than those programs, federal agencies would continue operating at current funding levels.

An earlier CR passed by the House last month included $61 billion in total savings, but Senate Democrats and the Obama administration widely opposed the legislation.

The short-term spending bill gives Congress roughly two weeks to come to a compromise on how to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal 2011 and avoid a government shutdown.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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