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Update: The House of Representatives passed a bill that would extend funding for the federal government by another two weeks through March 18.

Photo by Laura McCallister

Photo by Laura McCallister

WASHINGTON -- The bill was approved in a 335-91 vote. Republicans overwhelmingly backed the measure while Democrats were sharply divided.

The legislation, which still needs to be cleared by the Senate, would trim spending in earmarks and other programs agreed to by leaders of both political parties. It would prevent a government shutdown after Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters he expects the bill to go to President Barack Obama for his signature in the next 48 hours.

The House is acting first, with a vote expected this afternoon.

Passage of the measure will set a two-week time frame for negotiations on a bill to keep the government running through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.

The White House and leaders of both parties in both houses will be involved in the talks