WASHINGTON – The Senate will vote Wednesday on two competing budget measures to fund the government for fiscal 2011 and avoid a shutdown. Debate will begin at noon Eastern Time, and the votes will start at 3:00 pm.

One of the bills is HR 1, the recently-approved House bill that slashes spending by over $60 billion. The other is a White House-backed measure that cuts $6.5 billion in spending.

Both require a 60-vote threshold. Neither is 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.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), a member of the Republican leadership, said Tuesday that a fourth another stop-gap measure may be necessary to buy more time to reach consensus on a budget.