Obama signs three-day funding bill to avert government shutdown

WASHINGTON D.C. (Bloomberg) - United States president Barack Obama signed a stopgap spending legislation to keep US government funding from lapsing on Wednesday night Washington D.C, time, after the Senate cleared the measure.

The Senate earlier in the day had voted 86-14 for the measure, which extends funding for US agencies and departments through Jan 18.

It is designed to allow time for Congress to enact later this week a US$1.1 trillion measure that would set new spending levels through Sept 30.

"This is a very short-term extension which will enable us to complete our work," said Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat.

By passing the three-day extension, lawmakers avoid a repeat of the 16-day partial government shutdown in October. The White House announced Mr Obama's signature in a statement released on Thursday morning Singapore time.

Thirty-one Senate Republicans joined the 55 members of the chamber's Democratic caucus in supporting the measure. Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida - both potential 2016 presidential aspirants - were among the 14 Republicans who voted against it.

In a victory for Democrats, Republicans dropped demands to include provisions derailing some regulatory initiatives and denying funds for implementation of the 2010 health-care law.

Negotiators agreed on a US$1.01 trillion base spending level in December as part of a two-year, bipartisan budget agreement. The longer-term spending measure also includes about US$573 billion for defense spending in the current fiscal year, with US$85.2 billion for overseas combat operations in Afghanistan. That is about US$2 billion less than in fiscal year 2013.