President Biden struggled to avoid a government shutdown at midnight, and on Thursday evening signed a spending bill extending federal funding to early December and providing emergency aid in support of both the relocation of Afghan refugees and disaster recovery efforts across the country.
The president’s signature came after lawmakers hastily approved the measure in both chambers earlier in the day. The Senate’s vote was 65 to 35; that of the house was between 254 and 175.
“This is a good result – I’m glad we’re done,” said New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, before the Senate vote. “With so many things happening in Washington, the last thing the American people need is the government to stall.”
Legislators reached an agreement on spending legislation after Democrats agreed to delete a provision that would have increased the federal government’s ability to continue borrowing through the end of 2022. Senate Republicans on Monday blocked an initial funding package for accepting it and refused to give the majority party one of the votes it needs to move forward with a bill to avert an initial bankruptcy in the coming weeks.
The legislation keeps the government fully funded through December 3, and gives lawmakers additional time to reach consensus on the dozen of annual bills that dictate federal spending. It is allocating $ 6.3 billion to assist Afghan refugees relocate to the United States and $ 28.6 billion to help communities rebuild after hurricanes, forest fires, and other recent natural disasters.
“This bill is not a permanent solution,” said Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Budgets Committee. “I look forward to negotiating soon with my counterparts across the aisle and across the Capitol to finalize the government’s financial bills for the year.”
“The American people are able to build a stronger and more prosperous future as long as they have the tools to do it,” she added. “This bill is helping make sure they have these tools.”
The disaster funding is designed to help communities across the country continue to recover from the damage caused by natural disasters such as Hurricanes Ida, Delta, Zeta and Laura, as well as forest fires, droughts and winter storms in recent years.
Aid to Afghan refugees includes funds for shelter, English lessons and additional resources.
Before the Senate approved the details of the spending bill Thursday morning, the Senate rejected an amendment proposed by Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas that would have shortened the duration of some benefits for Afghan refugees.
The Senators also voted on an amendment offered by Republican of Kansas Senator Roger Marshall that would have prevented funds from being used to implement and enforce Mr. Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandate, as well as an amendment that would have allowed lawmakers to pay would refuse to pass a budget decision and a dozen expense bills by October 1 if they fail.