House approves bill to fund government through September

WASHINGTON Wed Mar 6, 2013 3:00pm EST

U.S. President Barack Obama participates in his first cabinet meeting of his second term in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, March 4, 2013. Pictured with Obama are (L-R) Small Business Administration's Karen Mills, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. REUTERS/Jason Reed

U.S. President Barack Obama participates in his first cabinet meeting of his second term in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, March 4, 2013. Pictured with Obama are (L-R) Small Business Administration's Karen Mills, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation to keep federal funds flowing to government agencies through September 30, seeking to avert shutdowns that otherwise would begin on March 27 when current funding expires.

The House bill was passed by 267 votes to 151. It gives President Barack Obama's administration flexibility in how it will achieve savings in defense and veterans' programs that are required as part of the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that began on Friday.

Next week, the Senate is expected to take up the "continuing resolution" to keep the government operating through the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends on September 30. That measure is expected to give broader flexibility on achieving the automatic spending cuts than the House-passed bill.

(Reporting By Richard Cowan and David Lawder; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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