A newly enacted bill has averted, for the time being, a default on the federal government's financial obligations, but mandatory spending cuts still are due to take effect on March 1.

President Obama signed a bill on Feb. 4 that allows the government to borrow what it needs through May 18. The Treasury Dept. had warned that, without further action, the U.S. would breach its $16.4-trillion debt ceiling.

To stave off the March 1 spending reductions for a few months, Obama on Feb. 5 proposed a package of other cuts and revenue hikes. However, congressional Republicans didn't warm to the president's proposal.