Senate Passes Shutdown-Averting Measure

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 20 2013 5:29 PM

The Government (Probably) Won't Shut Down!

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Photo by MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images

The Senate passed legislation Wednesday that would keep the government running through September, the end of the fiscal year.

The measure was approved 73-26, and will now move to the House, where the bill is expected to pass before March 27, when current funding runs out. As the Associated Press explains, the measure essentially locks in the budget sequester that went into effect March 1, at least through the end of the fiscal year, with a handful of modest funding increases for selected programs: 

"Some adjustments will be made. Federal meat inspectors were spared furloughs, for example, as lawmakers in both parties alternately clashed and cooperated over proposals to take the edge off the deficit-fighting cuts that took effect on March 1...Without changes, the $85 billion in cuts for the current year will swell to nearly $1 trillion over a decade, levels that lawmakers in both parties say are unsustainable politically. As a result, negotiations are possible later in the year to replace the reductions with different savings to restrain surging federal deficits."
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The legislation is merely a stopgap measure. So next up, Congress will attempt to agree on the government's budget for the next fiscal year. 

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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