Biden Signs Short-Term Funding Bill To Avoid Government Shutdown

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President Joe Biden signed a 45-day government funding bill into law late Saturday, narrowly avoiding the first federal shutdown of his presidency.

Biden signed the legislation following bipartisan votes in both the House and Senate earlier on Saturday, according to The New York Times. The law will keep the government funded until Nov.17 and included no funding to support Ukraine’s war effort against Russia, but did include disaster relief funds requested by the White House.

“Tonight, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate voted to keep the government open, preventing an unnecessary crisis that would have inflicted needless pain on millions of hardworking Americans,” Biden said in a statement. “This bill ensures that active-duty troops will continue to get paid, travelers will be spared airport delays, millions of women and children will continue to have access to vital nutrition assistance, and so much more. This is good news for the American people.”

The Senate vote was reportedly held up by Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, who raised concerns that the funding didn’t contain any aid for Ukraine, according to NBC News. “I think it was really, really important for us to send a signal to the world,” Bennet told reporters. “We’re gonna continue to work in a bipartisan way to get Ukraine the funds.”

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“While the Speaker and the overwhelming majority of Congress have been steadfast in their support for Ukraine, there is no new funding in this agreement to continue that support,” Biden said in the statement. “We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted. I fully expect the Speaker will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment.”

The House failed to pass a different stopgap package Friday that was introduced by Republican Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, which would have authorized funding through Oct. 31 and cut public spending by 8.1285%. The bill needed a two-thirds majority to pass but Democrats refused to endorse the package due to conflicts regarding the southern border and immigration policy, resulting in a 232 to 198 vote.

The Senate unveiled its funding deal Tuesday but many House Republicans denounced the package, criticizing provisions for $4.5 billion in aid to Ukraine and for a lack of emphasis on the southern border.

“Complete insanity,” Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida wrote in a tweet. “Not one more dollar should go to this country. We are 33 TRILLION IN DEBT! #NOCR.”

President Biden informed reporters earlier this week that he did not intend to speak with McCarthy regarding the shutdown. However, CNN reported that the White House “kept in touch” with the speaker throughout the day Saturday regarding the votes.

McCarthy negotiated with the president in May to halt a default on the national debt, resulting in the House passing the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which allows the federal government to take on unlimited debt through January 1, 2025.

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