News Column

Congress Passes Short-Term Funding Bill

March 21, 2013


us capitol

Looking to avert a government shutdown next week, Congress passed a six-month funding measure Thursday that now awaits the signature of President Obama.

The House vote comes a day after the Senate approved the same spending bill that will keep the federal government running through Sept. 30, which is the end of the fiscal year. Unlike past budget issues, the House's 318-109 approval was uncommonly free of drama.

President Obama, who is currently on a trip to Israel, is expected to sign the measure.

Lawmakers are now turning their attention to longer-term tax and spending issues. Congress on Thursday also approved a budget plan by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. The plan passed 221-207 on a partisan vote.

Ryan's plan calls for balancing the budget in 10 years by cutting nearly $5 trillion in spending and revamping entitlement programs. The plan would keep $600 million in tax increases passed last year in place.

Democrats say the budget is too austere and would hurt economic growth, while Republicans argue that out-of-control government spending needs to be reined in and that cutbacks will help the U.S. economy in the long run.

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