Senate approves three-day government funding extension

WASHINGTON Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:59pm EST

U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) boards the subway to the senate office buildings at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, January 15, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) boards the subway to the senate office buildings at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, January 15, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a three-day funding extension that will stave off a government shutdown at midnight on Wednesday and buy extra time to pass a $1.1 trillion spending bill for fiscal 2014.

The 86-14 vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate sends the stop-gap measure to President Barack Obama to be signed into law. It comes as the Republican-controlled House of Representatives began consideration of the full-year, "omnibus" spending bill, which will fund government agencies and programs through September 30.

Under the extension, Congress now has until midnight Saturday to pass that bill, which aims to ease some of the automatic, "sequester" spending cuts by providing an additional $45 billion in funding for military and domestic programs. It fleshes out a budget deal passed in December following a 16-day government shutdown in October over government funding disputes in Congress.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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