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Government Won't Shut Down at Midnight

By Ben Pershing
Federal employees can breathe easy -- the government will not shut down at midnight.

Just hours before the official end of the fiscal year, the Senate voted Wednesday evening almost completely along party lines, 62-38, to approve a continuing resolution that would keep the government running through the end of October. The House passed the same measure last week, so the bill now heads to the White House for President Obama's signature.

The resolution, which will keep nearly all government programs funded at current levels, was attached to the conference report for the legislative branch appropriations bill, the first of the 12 spending measures for fiscal 2010 that will become law. Senate Republicans complained Wednesday, just as their House counterparts did, that Democrats were abusing the appropriations process by combining the two measures and essentially daring Republicans to vote against it. The combined bill also includes help for the U.S. Postal Service, reducing by $4 billion a payment the USPS is scheduled to make for retiree health benefits.

While today's is the first spending bill that will be signed into law, House and Senate negotiators held conference meetings today on two more -- the Agriculture measure, and the Energy and water measure -- suggesting that the appropriations pace is picking up speed. Leaders hope to have all 12 bills completed by the end of October.

By Ben Pershing  |  September 30, 2009; 4:49 PM ET
Categories:  Purse Strings , Senate  
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