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House passes bill to fund government through early March

The House has passed a bill extending government funding through March 11. The final vote was 272 - 162. 

Congressman Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey was the only Democrat to oppose the bill, known as a continuing resolution.

The bill, if passed by the Senate and signed by President Biden, would extend federal funding at current levels for just over a month. The current continuing resolution is due to expire on February 18, but Congress is out of session next week, so lawmakers plan to wrap up their votes on the measure this week. 

Lawmakers are only passing a short-term extension now because they're still working on a bigger omnibus appropriations bill to address spending through September, the end of the fiscal year.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Tuesday that he intends to have the Senate take up the bill "quickly and in time for the February 18 deadline." He went on to say that negotiations for the fully year of appropriations funding would continue, and the short-term funding measure would enable the nation to "avoid a costly shutdown." And he expressed confidence that lawmakers would be able to reach an agreement on a full appropriations bill by March 11, rather than passing more continuing resolutions this year.

The president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Maya MacGuineas, called Congress' budget process "clearly broken," pointing out that Mr. Biden's budget is overdue, and that Congress "hasn't followed the budget and appropriations process as its scheduled by law in decades."

MacGuineas expressed concern about the $1.5 trillion bill that Congress is negotiating and warned, "With inflation at a 40-year high, we shouldn't be increasing discretionary spending by $125 billion."

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