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Funding measure clears House; shutdown averted

The House on March 21 approved legislation to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year.

The House on March 21 approved legislation to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. The continuing resolution—which will fund agencies and programs through Sept. 30, passed the House 318-109. The Senate approved the measure March 20.

The bill, which now goes to the White House, lifts the specter of a government shutdown when the current continuing resolution expires March 27. The bill maintains the sequester and extends the current federal pay freeze.

The final compromise version of the bill that was shepherded through the Senate by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) also incorporated additional budget leeway for a number of departments, including Agriculture, Homeland Security and Justice.

Both of the bill's Senate managers offered hopes that the two parties will enter a new period of cooperation.

“Working across the aisle and across the dome, the Senate has come together to prevent a government shutdown,” Mikulski said after the Senate approved the bill yesterday.

“This is an important step in breaking from crisis mode in Washington,” said Shelby. “It is my hope that the tone we set in meeting these objectives for the current fiscal year will carry over to our work on subsequent appropriations bills. We must continue to work together to replace a last minute, shotgun approach to reducing spending with a deliberate, targeted process.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) greeted the bill's passage in the House today with less fanfare, perhaps in part because House approval of the fiscal 2013 funding measure came 10 minutes after the House passed a budget blueprint for fiscal 2014.

“Our goal is to cut spending and balance the budget to help our economy grow," Boehner said in a statement issued after the vote. "Passing this measure allows us to keep our focus where it belongs: replacing the president’s sequester with smarter cuts that help balance the budget, fixing our broken tax code to create jobs and increase wages, protecting priorities like Medicare, and expanding opportunity for all Americans."

 

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