President Obama has signed into law a short-term spending bill (H.J.Res. 44) that keeps the government funded through March 18, 2011 while Congressional leaders try to reach agreement on a spending package for the rest of fiscal year 2011 (through September 30, 2011). The latest stop-gap bill includes $4 billion in spending cuts, including reductions in certain HHS program management funding and earmarked projects at the  Health Resources and Services Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The appropriations bill for the remainder of FY 2011 is expected to include much deeper cuts to discretionary spending, as evidenced by a spending package approved by the House in February (H.R. 1) that would reduce spending by an additional $61 billion over the rest of the fiscal year compared to President Obama’s budget request (note that different sources count the savings differently). The Senate is expected to begin debate on alternative spending packages this week.