Congress has averted a government shutdown on 4 March by approving a temporary spending bill today that funds federal agencies for another 2 weeks. The extension of the so-called continuing resolution reduces current spending by $4 billion, but none of the science, energy, and education programs that would suffer greatly under a bill passed last month by the House of Representatives would be affected. The latest vote gives the House and Senate until 18 March to compromise on a final 2011 spending bill.
President Barack Obama says he will sign the measure. But his statement issued immediately after the vote this morning by the Senate cautions Congress that the final agreement "should cut spending and reduce deficits without damaging economic growth or gutting investments in education, research, and development that will create jobs and secure our future."
See our 2012 Budget coverage.