The House of Representatives has approved a three-week spending extension that would fund the Federal government through mid-April. The Senate and President Barack Obama must pass a budget by March 19 in order to avoid a government shutdown.
According to media reports, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said that he expected the House-backed measure to pass his chamber this week. Obama has pledged to approve the three-week extension in order to provide "some breathing room to find consensus," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reported.
On March 15, the House voted 271-158 in favor of the extension. However, a total of 54 Republicans opposed the measure, compared to only six GOP Representatives who voted against the previous two-week extension.
Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said he does not want to fund the government in "bite-sized pieces," according to CNN. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Mike Pence (R-Ind.) opposed the bill because it did not eliminate funding for Obama's healthcare law and controversial organization Planned Parenthood.
The Family Research Council (FRC), a Christian lobbying group, recently praised the Republicans who voted against the extension.
"The time to bring our fiscal house in order is now, and ending the federal gravy train for Planned Parenthood and other Left-wing groups is the first step to show that this Congress is serious about doing so," said Tony Perkins, president of FRC.