WASHINGTON – Congress and President Joe Biden deferred a government shutdown hours before Thursday’s midnight deadline with a bill that gives the government funds until Dec.
Congress passed the bill earlier in the day and the president signed it into law shortly after, with less than five hours left.
The House voted 254-175 to approve the bill, which went through both houses in a matter of hours. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the law would keep government services running, halt furloughs for hundreds of thousands of workers and protect the economy.
“Shutdown is not something that anyone wants,” Pelosi said.
The Senate previously voted 65-35 to approve the measure.
“At this point — any time — shutting down the government is a very, very bad thing,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y.
The vote shadowed days of drama in Washington, where federal offices were making contingency preparations and planning a government shutdown due to a lack of action. A deal to keep the government running on Wednesday evening after Democrats abandoned an effort to include a provision to raise the country’s limits on borrowing.
The government funding was due to end at midnight on Thursday, coinciding with the end of the fiscal year. The temporary extension gives MPs more time to approve funds for a full year of government business.
Avoiding the shutdown removed one of four controversial financial hurdles facing Congress over the next few weeks.
The House was set to vote on an infrastructure bill on Thursday, the timing of which has divided Democrats. Some Democrats argued that the infrastructure bill should go ahead with a $3.5 trillion package of Biden’s social welfare priorities, which is still being negotiated.
“It’s a glimmer of hope as we go through a lot of other activities,” Schumer said of the funding vote.
there will be a shutdown Hundreds of thousands of non-essential federal workers fired, forcing them to take time off without pay. Essential functions such as the military, law enforcement and air-traffic control would have continued to function, but discretionary agencies such as the National Park Service would have closed.
The partial shutdown in 2019 cost the economy $11 billion, or more than $31 million per day, a report by the Congressional Budget Office said.
“They are expensive and harmful,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.
The Senate voted down three Republican amendments to the bill, which Democrats said would have screwed it up.:
- Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. proposed to revise the eligibility of Afghan refugees for benefits in the United States.
- Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., wanted to freeze federal funding for the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
- Mike Braun, R-Ind., proposed blocking Congressional payrolls after October 1 of any year when the budget and spending bills are not approved.
One reason the spending vote went down the wire was that Republicans and Democrats feuded over whether to include a provision for raising the country’s limit on borrowing in the law. Congress should extend the country’s borrowing authority by October 18 or risk a default that economists have warned would be an economic catastrophe.
Approval of the money came quickly after Democrats abandoned their efforts to link money to debt ceiling increases or suspensions, an action conservatives and liberals have agreed to need so that the country can continue to pay its bills and move around the world. To avoid economic chaos.
“We didn’t have to be in this place a few hours before the shutdown,” said Rep. K. Granger of Texas, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee.
Republicans have said that Democrats will have to raise the debt limit on their own. On Monday, Senate Republicans blocked debate on legislation that would have addressed both expanded funding and raising debt limits for the federal government.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, “The Democratic majority is beginning to realize that the way forward on basic governing duties matches the road map that Republicans have set out for months.” “We are able to fund the government today because the majority accepted the reality.”