Biden signs spending bill that averts government shutdown with 11 hours to spare
President Biden has signed an interim funding bill to tide federal agencies over until mid-December.
The House passed the measure Friday by a vote of 230-201, with ten Republicans joining all Democrats in voting to keep the government open. The Senate had approved it on Thursday. Government spending power would have ended and required a shutdown on Saturday morning.
The continuing resolution maintains current levels of spending and extends funding through Dec. 16, giving both chambers extra time to hammer out details for a broader budget deal.
"This is common sense, bipartisan legislation," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the floor Thursday before the upper chamber passed the bill 72-25. "I'm glad we came to a timely conclusion and didn't go right up to the brink and risk a shutdown. Millions and millions of people can breathe easy knowing that we have done this in a timely way and the money to continue the government will be there."
What's in the bill
It includes $2.5 billion to aid communities devastated by natural disasters, $1 billion in funding a low-income home heating program, and $20 million in emergency to address the water crisis in Jackson, Miss. The bill also includes $12 billion in aid for Ukraine.
"This package comes as a pivotal moment, as Ukraine freedom fighters work to turn the tide, liberating key cities and repelling Russian forces," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said ahead of Friday's vote.
The bill also allows for the reauthorization of Food and Drug Administration user fees for another five years, which Schumer called "vital if we want to avoid any slowdown in the review of new lifesaving drugs."
What's not in the bill
The legislation does not include funding for vaccines, testing and treatment for the coronavirus or monkeypox that the White House had requested.
The initial hurdle in getting the votes in the Senate to pass the stopgap bill centered on language drafted by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin that would overhaul how the government approves permits for energy production. Schumer and Manchin had previously brokered a deal that Manchin would support the Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats' signature spending package, if he could attach his permitting legislation to the continuing resolution.
But bipartisan opposition to Manchin's proposal ensued, with Senate Republicans bitter over Manchin joining Democrats in passing the Inflation Reduction Act after indicating he wouldn't support such a package. A group of progressive Democrats concerned about potential environmental impacts also objected to Manchin's measure.
Once Manchin agreed to remove his language from the legislation, the continuing resolution easily overcame a procedural vote on Tuesday, setting it up for final passage.
Although House Republican leaders opposed the bill, the measure still easily passed because of Democrats' simple majority.
Both chambers were eager to leave Washington and return home, particularly lawmakers making final pitches to constituents ahead of November's midterm elections.