House Votes to Avert Shutdown as Obama Looks for Big Deal

March 6, 2013

The House took its first step to avert a government shutdown as President Obama began a series of rare meetings with Republican lawmakers on Wednesday, reviving chances for a long-term deal to reduce the federal deficit.

In hopes of avoiding a crisis this month, the House approved a six-month spending bill that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year. The measure passed 267 to 151, with most Republicans supporting it and most Democrats voting against it.

The stopgap measure would provide $982 billion, enough to keep federal agencies humming past March 27, when current funding will expire. It also would lock in the across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester for the rest of the fiscal year.

The bill will now head to the Senate, where Democrats are likely to seek amendments that would help blunt the effects of domestic spending cuts that began last week. But there is bipartisan optimism that a final version of the measure will clear Congress by the end of the month.

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