US Senate Approves Budget Bill To Avert Shutdown

The budget could see final passage this week.

The budget could see final passage this week.

The US Senate has approved a bill to fund the US government through the remainder of its fiscal year.

The bill overcame a procedural obstacle on Monday and is expected to pass the chamber on Tuesday, before final passage in the House the following day.

The bill retains $85 billion  in spending cuts this year that took affect on March 1, but gives agencies new flexibility in implementing them.

It averts a government shutdown set for March 27, and funds it through October.

In particular, US senators were keen to guard programs in their home states from potentially devastating budget cuts, analysts say.

Assuming President Barack Obama signs the bill, Republicans and Democrats in Congress will next have to forge an agreement on the US government’s budget for its next fiscal year, which begins October 1 .

Republicans and Democrats have been locked in a series of fiscal battles for years. Much of the struggle has focused on how best to reduce the government’s budget deficit, which has hovered around $1 trillion.

Republicans demand dramatic spending cuts, mostly to domestic social programs backed by Democrats, and adamantly oppose increasing taxes.

The Democrats led by President Obama prefer a mix of tax rises and spending reductions.