Senate Passes Spending Bill, Avoids Shutdown Temporary measure cuts $4 billion, will last 2 weeks By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Mar 2, 2011 10:59 AM CST 16 comments Comments Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. looks on at left as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., talks to the media on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Newser) – Congress is sending President Obama a Republican-drafted bill to trim $4 billion from the budget to keep the government running for two more weeks. The Senate cleared the measure by an overwhelming 91-9 vote that gives the GOP an early but modest victory in its drive to rein in government. Obama has until Friday to sign the measure and avert a government shutdown. The legislation buys time for Obama, the GOP-dominated House, and the Democratic-led Senate to start talks on legislation to fund the government through the end of September. House Republicans last month muscled through a measure cutting this year's budget by more than $60 billion. The White House has promised a veto and it will take weeks or months to find a compromise that Obama would sign.