From Erika Bolstad in Washington D.C. --
Both Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Democratic Sen. Mark Begich voted Wednesday to support a stopgap budget measure that keeps the government running for the next two weeks.
The budget bill, which passed the Senate 91-9, will keep the federal government running until the House and Senate can resolve their differences on a spending plan for the rest of the fiscal year.
The measure "contains spending reductions that help as we deal with overall federal spending," Murkowski said, calling it a "positive development."
"But we still need to make some very tough spending decisions in the coming days, and I am hopeful Congress will put the next two weeks to good use," she said.
Begich said he was pleased Congress could find some consensus that avoids a shutdown, but also said that "two-week budgeting is no way to run a country."
"We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work reducing the deficit while investing in our economy and creating jobs," he said. "Alaskans want to see results, not political games."
Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, also voted for the two-week extension, which passed the House of Representatives 335-91 Tuesday afternoon.
President Barack Obama, who signed the spending bill Wednesday afternoon, warned Congress "we cannot keep doing business this way." He called on the Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress to begin meeting with the vice president, as well as his chief of staff and his budget director.
"This agreement should cut spending and reduce deficits without damaging economic growth or gutting investments in education, research and development that will create jobs and secure our future," the president said in a statement issued after the vote. "This agreement should be bipartisan, it should be free of any party’s social or political agenda, and it should be reached without delay."