U.S. Senate passes two-year budget deal to ease spending cuts

Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 | 4:53 PM ET

WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed a two-year budget deal to ease automatic spending cuts and reduce the risk of another government shutdown, shifting the focus to a spending measure that Congress must pass by Jan. 15.

The Senate vote by a simple majority sends the measure to President Barack Obama for his signature. The Senate and House of Representatives Appropriations committees now must craft a $1.012 trillion fiscal 2014 spending bill to implement the budget deal before current spending authority expires.