President Biden averted a potential government shutdown by signing a short-term funding bill on Thursday. This move leaves a larger spending battle for Congress to address in early 2022.
With just 48 hours before the shutdown deadline at midnight on Friday, the Senate granted final approval to the package late Wednesday.
The bill allocates funds until January 19th for various congressional priorities, including military construction, veterans affairs, transportation, housing, and the Energy Department. Other agencies will receive funding until February 2nd.
The Senate voted 87 to 11, with one Democrat, Michael Bennet of Colorado, and ten Republicans opposing the bill. While the House approved the bill on Tuesday, it faced opposition from a significant number of House Republicans, despite near-unanimous support from Democrats.
Significantly, the spending plan does not provide additional aid for Israel or Ukraine. President Biden was in San Francisco attending an Asian-Pacific economies summit while the bill was signed.
This funding bill maintains current levels of funding for federal agencies and does not introduce any policy conditions. Progressives Democrats had insisted on such a bill to counter the efforts of far-right Republicans who sought deep cuts for Biden’s climate change agenda.
Additionally, they aimed to prevent any funding from going towards the President’s executive order on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the federal workforce.
Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democrat majority leader from New York, expressed relief at the avoidance of a government shutdown, stating at a news conference, “There will be no government shutdown… a great outcome for the American people.” This bipartisan cooperation ensured that the bill remained free from harmful cuts or contentious provisions.
Although Speaker Mike Johnson, who spearheaded the package, expressed his disapproval of further stopgap funding plans, he positioned this temporary spending measure as preparatory groundwork for future negotiations with the Senate in 2024.