Biden’s Last-Minute Bipartisan Bill Prevents Government Shutdown

The United States government narrowly averted a catastrophic shutdown on Saturday when Congress successfully passed a last-minute, temporary funding bill. President Joe Biden promptly signed this crucial legislation just moments before midnight, as reported.

The Senate provided its approval for the stopgap funding measure, referred to as a continuing resolution (CR), with a final vote of 88-9. This decision followed the House’s passage of the bill, which received bipartisan support in a vote of 335-91 earlier in the day.

Biden’s signature came in the nick of time, mere minutes before numerous government operations faced the prospect of coming to a standstill.

“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 hard working Americans,” Biden said in a statement according to the publication.

The CR was hailed by Sen. Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I have very good news for the country. Democrats and Republicans have come to an agreement and the government will remain open,” he said. “We will have avoided a shutdown.

“Bipartisanship, which has been the trademark of the senate, prevailed and the American people can breathe a sigh of relief,” he added.

Hours prior to this, the bill had gained resounding approval in the House of Representatives with a vote of 335-91. This significant shift in support came after Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) abandoned the hefty spending cut demands made by his GOP colleagues. Instead, he opted for bipartisan cooperation, which was a rare occurrence.

The agreement entails a $16 billion boost in federal disaster assistance and ensures the government’s operational continuity until at least November 17. However, it’s worth noting that the bill did not incorporate the new funding proposal for Ukraine, which had been part of an earlier plan and had become a contentious issue among Senate Democrats.

Prior to the vote, Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) raised objections to the stopgap measure, as reported by CNN, citing concerns about the absence of funding for Ukraine.

The passage of the bill ensures the avoidance of furloughs for thousands of federal workers and the continued operation of nonessential government programs. Moreover, the agreement spares over 2 million active-duty reserve military troops from the prospect of working without pay, thanks to the deal struck on Saturday.

President Biden commended the bipartisan agreement while attributing delays to “extreme House Republicans” who, in his statement, were pushing for drastic cuts that could have had devastating consequences for millions of Americans.

“I want to be clear: we should never have been in this position in the first place. Just a few months ago, Speaker McCarthy and I reached a budget agreement to avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis,” Biden said.

Additionally, he emphasized that the United States must ensure continuous support for Ukraine without interruption. He expressed his expectation that Speaker McCarthy would fulfill his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure the necessary support during this crucial period.

The package maintains government funding at the existing 2023 levels for the next 45 days and extends various provisions, including those related to the Federal Aviation Administration.