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Congress Passes Continuing Resolution

A motion to freeze federal government spending at 2008 levels through the rest of this fiscal year failed in the House today, shortly before the House passed a continuing resolution, which will fund the government at 2008 levels through next Wednesday.

Such a move would not have been necessary had Senate Democrats come up with 60 votes to pass the omnibus appropriations bill, which Republican leadership opposes because of its increased spending levels and 8,000-plus earmarks (though some of the earmarks were added on by Republicans). However, today's deadline for action on funding the federal government through Sept. 30 forced Democrats to buy Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a few more days to come up with the votes.

The temporary continuing resolution passed 328-50, with 2 Democrats and 48 Republicans voting against it. The Senate then agreed to it on a unanimous voice vote. The spending freeze, offered by House Republicans, failed on a 160-218 vote, with all 152 Republicans and eight Democrats voting for the measure.

"Let's show the American taxpayers that we get it," House Minority Leader John Boehner said from the House floor shortly before the spending freeze vote. "Let's show investors in our American economy that we get it. Because clearly the bill that's been under consideration both here in the House and now in the Senate has a $30 billion increase over last year's spending, and includes nearly 9,000 earmarks. And the way to put all of this to a stop is to just have a spending freeze."