The Senate on Thursday sent President Obama legislation that would cut $6 billion from current discretionary spending and fund the government for another three weeks beyond Friday when the current stopgap spending bill expires.
Along with avoiding a government shutdown, the new short-term continuing resolution, which passed 87 to 13, is designed to provide additional time for lawmakers to negotiate a deal for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
Senate action comes as the House passed the bill Tuesday, 271 to 158, with 54 Republicans joining 104 Democrats opposing the measure. The House vote -- with so many Republicans voting against their leadership -- reflects a growing impatience with the fight over fiscal 2011 spending. Only six Republicans voted against the previous extension.
The House vote also suggests that House Speaker Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, will likely need Democratic votes to pass a final deal. Eighty-five Democrats voted for the three-week stopgap and 104 voted for the previous CR.
Pressure is building on congressional leaders and the White House to reach an agreement as soon as possible because it will likely be very difficult to win support for a subsequent short-term extension.