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Congress sets new D-day for government shutdown: April 8

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Thursday's stopgap continuing resolution (CR) cuts spending $6 billion below fiscal year 2010 levels and averts a government shutdown on March 18. It passed the Senate 87 to 13. Nine Republicans, three Democrats, and one Independent voted in opposition. A previous, two-week bill cut spending another $4 billion.

“When signed into law, this measure will mean that we've cut $10 billion in just five weeks, which is a step in the right direction to begin to make Washington live within its means,” said House majority leader Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia in a statement. "Now that we've put more time on the clock, I again implore the president and Senate Democrats to give us an offer that can get majority support in the Senate to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year that includes serious spending cuts."

The House and Senate are far apart on the scope of proposed cuts. On Feb. 19, the House passed a bill that cut $62 billion in discretionary spending for FY 2011, pushing spending back to FY 2008 levels. Senate Democrats proposed $6 billion in cuts over the same period. Both measures failed in up-or-down Senate votes last week. To avoid a government shutdown on April 9, the House and Senate must bridge that gap.

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