Senate fails to pass two budget bills, shutdown looms

By Sahil Kapur
Wednesday, March 9, 2011 15:49 EDT
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WASHINGTON – The Senate on Wednesday struck down two separate budget measures for fiscal 2011, raising the stakes of an ongoing stand-off as the government’s solvency hangs in the balance.

The GOP House bill H.R. 1, which cuts spending by over $60 billion, was defeated by a vote of 44-56.

The other, a White House-backed measure that cuts $6.5 billion in spending, failed 42-58.

Both required a 60-vote threshold for approval. Neither was expected to pass.

Congress failed to pass a budget for fiscal 2011 last year and since then has approved three continuing resolutions to keep the government solvent. The latest one expires on March 18, and the signs of a deal appear increasingly grim.

The failed Senate votes mean a fourth stop-gap measure is perhaps Congress’s best chance to avoid a shutdown, which leaders of both parties say they do not want.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), a member of the Republican leadership, predicted Tuesday that another continuing resolution was the most likely course of action.

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