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Obama Signs Three-Day Funding Bill to Avert U.S. Shutdown

Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama signed stopgap spending legislation to keep U.S. government funding from lapsing tonight, after the Senate cleared the measure.

The Senate earlier today 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. The White House announced Obama’s signature in a statement released tonight.

Thirty-one Senate Republicans joined the 55 members of the chamber’s Democratic caucus 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 today passed a longer-term bipartisan spending bill that was unveiled Jan. 13. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, yesterday called that 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 signed by Obama 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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at

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