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Senate Clears Three-Day Funding Measure to Avert Shutdown

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, yesterday called the funding measure “imperfect but really very, very good.” Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- 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 avoid a repeat of the 16-day partial government shutdown in October.

Thirty-one Republicans joined the chamber’s 55 Democrats in supporting the measure. Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida -- both potential 2016 presidential aspirants - - were among the 14 Republicans who voted against it.

The House is scheduled to vote 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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kathleen Hunter in Washington at khunter9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at jschneider50@bloomberg.net

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