WASHINGTON -- The House passed emergency short-term legislation Tuesday to cut federal spending by $4 billion and avert a government shutdown. Senate Democrats agreed to follow suit, handing Republicans an early victory in their drive to rein in government.
The bill that cleared the House on a bipartisan vote of 335-91 eliminates the threat of a shutdown on March 4, when existing funding authority expires. At the same time, it creates a compressed two-week timeframe for the White House and lawmakers to engage in what looms as a highly contentious negotiation on a follow-up bill to set spending levels through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.
The Senate set a vote on the short-term measure for Wednesday morning, the final step before it goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. "We'll pass this and then look at funding the government on a long-term basis," said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.