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

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.

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