WASHINGTON — The Senate approved a temporary budget resolution on Thursday that will keep the federal government running for three more weeks.
The measure, which passed 87-13, will provide lawmakers more time to negotiate a final budget for the fiscal year that began six months ago, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“Today’s vote starts the clock. This is the second tine we have extended the deadline for passing a long-term plan that cuts spending and keeps our government running,” said Reid, D-Nev.
Congress has approved a series of short-term stopgaps since the fiscal year began six months ago. The current “continuing resolution” expires Friday. Without another extension, non-essential government services could be shut down.
Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., voted against the bill.
Democrats and Republicans have been locked in partisan gridlock for months with neither side willing to concede significant ground over spending.
Republicans have sought more than $60 billion in spending reductions over the final seven months of the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, 2010. The cuts, they say, are needed to begin to reduce the federal deficit.
Most Democrats oppose the GOP plan, saying it would stall the nation’s economic recovery.
“Our top concern is creating American jobs,” Reid said. “We need to cut spending, but we also need to protect our fragile economy. That is why Democrats oppose Republicans’ reckless spending bill that would destroy 700,000 American jobs.”
Democrats, however, have included spending cuts in the continuing resolutions that keep pace with the Republican goal.
“Enactment of this short-term measure would mean that in just five weeks we will have cut $10 billion from this year’s spending,” said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. “Even in Washington, D.C., that’s real money.”
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau reporter Peter Urban at 1-202-783-1760 or firstname.lastname@example.org.