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Obama Signs Bill to Fund Government Until Mid-November

U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday signed into law a funding measure to continue current budgetary levels until mid-November, ending the latest round in the ongoing fiscal battle fought by Congress this year.

The White House said the president had signed the continuing resolution that will provide "appropriations for continuing projects and activities of the federal government through Friday, November 18, 2011."

House lawmakers voted by a bipartisan majority Tuesday to approve the measure.

Leaders of both parties have said they hope to have a longer-term funding measure agreed to before Nov. 18, when the measure expires, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Even though the two parties have agreed to a ceiling of $1.043 trillion on the spending covered by the legislation, there continues to be considerable disagreement about how to allocate that money across federal programs and departments.

House Republicans are angling to spend billions less than Senate Democrats want on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, and significantly more on the Pentagon.

Those and legions of other differences will have to be ironed out before Congress can pass a full-year spending plan for the government. The federal government's fiscal year began on Oct. 1.

The debate centers around the roughly one-third of the federal budget that must be set by Congress annually. The remaining two-thirds, which includes funding for big-ticket programs like Medicare and Medicaid, is renewed automatically each year unless Congress intervenes.

Due to partisan wrangling over the amount of disaster funding that should have been included in the spending bill, a four-day stop gap measure had to be passed by both chambers last week to avert a shutdown of most federal government operations from Saturday.

In the end that dispute was not resolved because the parties were able to overcome their differences, but because the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it had found more money in its dwindling budget after conducting an audit of outstanding programs.

The Senate also approved the measure extending funding last week.

The outcome of Tuesday's 352-66 vote was not in doubt, after both Democratic and Republican House leaders said they hoped the measure would be approved. But House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was forced to rely on significant Democratic support to carry the bill, in the face of upwards of 50 no votes from his side of the aisle.

A significant number of Tea Party-backed Republicans have consistently opposed each of the major spending bills to come to the floor this year, leaving Boehner reliant on Democratic votes to reach a majority.