Biden signs major government funding bill just in time to prevent a shutdown


WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Saturday signed a major government funding bill into law, defusing fears of a partial shutdown.

The White House statement announcing that Biden had signed the bill thanked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Mike Johnson, and other lawmakers for their leadership on the issue.

The Senate voted 75-22 on Friday to pass the funding bill to keep a slew of agencies afloat through September. The 1,050-page measure is a collection of six appropriations bills negotiated by Schumer, Johnson, Biden and top appropriators in both parties and chambers. It funds the departments of Justice, Commerce, Agriculture, Transportation and many other parts of the government, after leaders split federal funding into two packages.

It passed the House on Wednesday by a vote of 339-85.

The Democratic-led Senate approved the legislation after some delays caused by Republican demands for amendments, which leaders in the chamber resolved by granting votes on multiple GOP-pushed measures before passing the main bill.

“After months of hard work, we have good news for the country: Tonight the Senate has reached an agreement avoiding a shutdown on the first six funding bills,” Schumer said before the vote. “We will keep important programs funded for moms and kids, for veterans, for the environment, for housing, and so much more.”

“I want to thank our appropriators. You’ve done such a fine job,” he said.

Senate leaders faced a tricky balance with GOP demands for amendments on immigration and other items. If an amendment came up and passed, it would have sent the bill back to the House, all but guaranteeing a shutdown. Instead, they struck a deal on vote timing designed to keep the bill intact.

Next funding deadline: March 22

Tougher work still lies ahead. The remaining six appropriations bills, which include contentious issues like how to fund the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, face a deadline in just two weeks, on March 22. Negotiators haven’t reached a deal on how to resolve that yet, much less written legislation to do so.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., the top Democratic appropriator in the House, said the remaining six bills are “in various stages of negotiations” as “staff on both sides of the aisle, in both chambers, are working on them.”

“We worked hard to get these done,” DeLauro said. “I’m optimistic about getting the next six done.”

Johnson, for his part, said the bill passed Friday contains conservative wins including cuts to the FBI, Environmental Protection Agency and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He said Republicans achieved that “with divided government and a historically small House majority.”

Democrats have highlighted the package’s funding for WIC, a program that provides food assistance for women, infants and children, among other wins.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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