Obama signs stopgap measure, awaits spending bill

Friday - 12/16/2011, 10:38pm EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has signed a 24-hour stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating as he awaits Senate action on a $1 trillion spending bill.

The House passed the measure Friday following bipartisan negotiations. The bill was expected to clear the Senate on Saturday.

The spending bill was one of the final pieces of legislation before Congress, requiring last-minute deal making to avoid a government shutdown.

The measure pays for day-to-day operations of 10 Cabinet departments. The bill trims most domestic agencies and awards the Pentagon the smallest budget hike in recent memory.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The White House says Senate deal to extend a Social Security tax cut and unemployment benefits for two months meets President Barack Obama's goal of avoiding a tax increase in the new year.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer calls the deal a significant victory.

Obama had wanted a full-year extension of the tax cut. He had also sought a Social Security tax cut for businesses that Congress did not grant. The deal also means Obama will have to decide within 60 days whether to grant a permit for Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, a decision he had wanted to put off until after next year's elections.

Pfeiffer says that failing to extend the tax cut would have hurt the economic recovery and job growth.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The Obama administration says it is willing to accept a tentative Senate deal to extend a Social Security tax cut and unemployment benefits, even though the extension is only for two months.

A senior administration official also says that a provision requiring a swift decision on a Canada-to-Texas pipeline would almost certainly result in President Barack Obama denying the permit for the project.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the deal.

The official says Obama's top priority was avoiding a tax increase on 160 million workers when the payroll tax cut was scheduled to expire at the end of this year. The official said the deal met that test.


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