Update: President Obama this afternoon signed into law legislation to fund the federal government for two more weeks.
Vice President Joe Biden has assumed the role of lead Democratic negotiator in talks with congressional Republicans aimed at a deal on funding the government for the rest of the year, President Obama and Senate Democratic leaders announced today. The news came after the Senate voted 91-9 to pass a continuing resolution extending federal government funding for two more weeks.
The vote averted a government shutdown and handed House Republicans an early win in what looks likely to be a long series of budget battles with Democrats.
Obama is expected to sign it quickly, before the March 4 expiration of the current CR.
The bill cuts spending by $4 billion, targeting earmarks and accelerating some program cuts Obama proposed for fiscal 2012.
House Republicans and Senate Democrats remain far apart on a long-term CR, and Senate aides said another two-week extension is likely before a deal on a longer bill. Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Chairman Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said today that Senate Democrats will "submit" a seven-month CR, which the Senate Appropriations Committee is drafting, to the White House as part of negotiations.
In a statement, Obama said his chief of staff, William Daley, and Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew will join Biden in talks with Republicans and congressional Democrats.
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