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Obama signs another stopgap budget measure

The three-week measure signed by President Obama gives lawmakers until April 8 to reach a funding agreement for the remainder of the fiscal year. The White House urges Republicans and Democrats to find 'common ground.'

March 19, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli and Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington — President Obama on Friday signed another short-term budget, this one a three-week measure that gives lawmakers until April 8 to reach an agreement on funding the government for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Following the Senate vote on Thursday signing off on the plan, the White House urged all parties to find "common ground."

"Continuing to fund our government in two- or three-week increments adds uncertainty to our economy and distracts us from other urgent priorities facing our nation," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Carney maintained that the White House agrees with the need to cut spending, and that Democrats have "already met Republicans halfway."

"But we will continue to oppose harmful cuts to critical investments in education, innovation, and research and development that we need to grow our economy and create jobs – as well as oppose additions to the bill that have nothing to do with fiscal policy. The President is optimistic that Congress can get this done," he said.

The interim measure Obama signed continues budget cuts at the rate of $2 billion a week, the level preferred by the GOP but opposed by many Democrats. The legislation was designed to appeal to Democrats by making the reductions in programs and services already identified by Obama for termination.

House Republicans already passed a measure to cut spending $60 billion this year, but the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected the plan. With the sides $50 billion apart, a middle ground could look similar to the estimated $30 billion in cuts Republican leaders first proposed, before their "tea party" activists and freshman rank and file pressed for more. But such a compromise appears far off.

michael.memoli@latimes.com

lisa.mascaro@latimes.com

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