Biden signs bill to avoid a government shutdown

Joe Biden

Biden signs bill to avoid a government shutdown approves bill to fund the government through December 3

Congress and President Joe Biden avoided a government shutdown just hours before the midnight deadline on Thursday with a bill to fund the government through December 3.

Congress passed the bill earlier today, and the president signed it into law soon after, with only five hours left.

The House voted to approve the bill, which passed in both houses within a few hours. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, said the legislation would keep government services running.

"A shutdown is not anything anyone would want," Pelosi said.

The Senate earlier voted 65 to 35 to approve the measure.

"At this time - at any time - it's too bad to let the government shut down," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York.

The poll capped days of drama in Washington, where a lack of action led federal offices to prepare contingency plans and leave if the government shuts down. A deal was reached to keep the government running Wednesday night after Democrats dropped an attempt to raise the nation's borrowing cap.

Avoiding shutdown removed one of four controversial financial hurdles facing Congress in the next few weeks.

The House voted Thursday on an infrastructure bill, the timing of which split Democrats. Some Democrats have argued that the infrastructure bill should move with Biden's welfare priorities' $3.5 trillion packages, which are still under negotiation.

"It's a glimmer of hope as we go through many, many other activities," Schumer said of the funding vote.

The shutdown could have laid off hundreds of thousands of non-essential federal employees, forcing them to take unpaid leave. Essential jobs such as the military, law enforcement, and air traffic control would continue to operate.

A Congressional Budget Office report found that partial shutdowns in 2019 cost the economy $11 billion, or more than $31 million a day.

"It's costly and devastating," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.

Part of the reason for the spending vote in the wire was that Republicans and Democrats disputed whether they should include a provision to raise the nation's borrowing cap in the legislation. Congress must lift the country's borrowing authority by October 18 or risk a default that economists warn would be an economic disaster.

The approval of the funding came quickly after Democrats abandoned their attempts to tie the budget to an increase or suspension of the debt limit, a measure both conservatives and liberals agree should be taken so the country can continue to pay its bills and avoid global economic chaos.

Republicans said Democrats would need to raise the debt ceiling themselves. On Monday, Senate Republicans blocked debate on legislation that addressed both extending fundings to the federal government and raising the debt limit.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-K, said: "The Democratic majority is beginning to realize that the way forward in basic duties of governance matches the roadmap that Republicans have laid out for months. We can fund the government today. Because the majority has accepted reality."

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