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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Biden signs stopgap spending bill, averting partial shutdown

By Erica L. Green

President Joe Biden late last week signed legislation averting a partial government shutdown, which will fund agencies until early March as Congress continues to wrangle over spending proposals to fund the government for the remainder of the year.

The Senate and the House approved the stopgap measure Thursday; funding was to run out at midnight Friday. The six-week deal was passed over the opposition of hard-right Republicans in the House but with bipartisan majorities in both chambers. It will allow Congress to negotiate and pass bills totaling $1.66 trillion to fund the government through the fall.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement Friday that the new measure “prevents a needless shutdown, maintains current funding levels and includes no extreme policies.”

She indicated that the White House was prepared for fights ahead, as the new resolution was the third time since the start of the fiscal year Oct. 1 that Congress had temporarily extended funding.

“Instead of wasting more time on partisan appropriations bills that violate the budget agreement two-thirds of them voted for last spring, House Republicans must finally do their job and work across the aisle to pass full-year funding bills that deliver for the American people and address urgent domestic and national security priorities by passing the president’s supplemental request,” Jean-Pierre said.

Under the stopgap legislation, funding for agriculture, veterans programs, transportation, housing and other federal operations would be maintained through March 1. Funding for the rest of the government, including the Pentagon, expires March 8.

With the additional time, members of the House and Senate Appropriations committees are aiming to push through the dozen bills funding the government. But far-right conservatives in the House are demanding measures Democrats will not accept, including restrictions on abortion and other limits on government.

At an event at the White House with mayors from across the country Friday, Biden poked fun at the dysfunction that preceded his signing of the bill.

“We have some good news: We just signed a bill to keep the government open,” he said. “Some days that counts as progress.”

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