For the third time in a month, the Senate approved a temporary spending bill Tuesday to keep the government open for business. With Republicans taking control of the House in January and pledging
spending cutbacks, a March expiration date would set up a full-fledged
fight over the budget. And the measure will leave key Democratic legislative victories — like
health care and financial reform — with less funding than if the
massive $1.1 trillion “omnibus” extension killed by Republicans last
week had passed. Typically, lawmakers pass 12 appropriation bills for the president’s
approval. Those bills give federal agencies the legal authority to spend
and conduct business. This year, not one of the 12 has been approved by the Senate.

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