Congress passes bill to fund government through March 4

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Facing a midnight deadline to avoid a government shutdown, Congress passed a bill Tuesday that will fund the federal government through March 4.

The bill, which will also freeze federal salaries for two years, narrowly passed the House, 193 to 165, several hours after it easily cleared the Senate in a 79 to 16 vote.

President Obama was standing by at the White House to sign the measure.

The last-minute scramble was required after the Senate last week withdrew a $1.2 trillion omnibus appropriations bill that included more than $8 billion in earmarks.

Republicans successfully forced Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to pull the measure from the floor and instead take up the stopgap measure, which would increase federal spending by $1.16 billion, an increase of less than 1 percent.

- Felicia Sonmez

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