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Obama signs bill to avoid government shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running through the end of September.

The measure leaves in place $85 billion in automatic budget cuts known as the sequester. But it takes steps to ease the impact of the cuts to food inspection and college assistance for active duty military personnel.

The House and Senate passed the spending bill last week. Without it, the government on Wednesday would have run out of money to keep operating.

The measure funds the day-to-day operating budgets of every Cabinet agency through Sept. 30, the end of the 2013 fiscal year. It also provides another $87 billion for overseas military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and maintains a pay freeze for federal workers.

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