Biden Signs $1.2 Trillion Spending Bill, Ending Shutdown T..
spending billBiden Signs $1.2 Trillion Spending Bill, Ending Shutdown Threat After Senate Passage

Introduction

President Joe Biden signed a $1.2 trillion spending bill on the last day of the week when Congress had passed a lengthy compromise law just hours earlier, effectively averting a partial government shutdown. In a statement, Biden said, “This deal represents a compromise, meaning no one got everything they wanted.” “But it rejects extreme cuts proposed by House Republicans and increases funding for childcare, invests in cancer research, allocates funds for mental health and substance abuse, boosts investment in foreign aid leadership, and provides resources to secure the border. It’s good news for the American people.”

The current budget year took nearly six months for lawmakers to reach near the end of government funding, a delay driven by progressives who pushed for more policy mandates and cuts in spending in the face of Democratic control of the Senate or White House. Several short-term spending bills were needed to keep agencies funded during this impasse.

Biden Signs Spending Bill

The White House announced that President Biden officially signed the comprehensive spending bill into law from the comfort of his home in Wilmington, Delaware, where he was wrapping the week. Despite the looming threat of a government shutdown due to expired agency funding at midnight, Biden swiftly secured Senate approval with a decisive vote of 74-24. Following the deadline, the White House promptly issued a notice revealing that the Office of Management and Budget had halted preparations for a potential shutdown. This decision stemmed from the administration’s strong belief that Congress would successfully enact the necessary legislation, with the Democratic President committed to promptly signing it into law before the week concluded.

Year’s First Spending Bills

The first package of spending bills for the entire year, which provided funding for agencies other than Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, and Interior, came just a few hours before funding expired two weeks ago. The second covered defense, homeland security, and other aspects of the federal government. When both packages are combined, discretionary spending for the fiscal year would total nearly $1.66 trillion.

This does not include programs like Social Security and Medicare or financial aid for increasing national debts. The aid to Ukraine, which Biden and his administration argued was crucial and necessary to halt Russia’s aggression, provided $300 million in defense spending under the cap of defensive expenditures. This funding is separate from a larger aid package for Ukraine and Israel stuck on Capitol Hill.

Biden Urges Congressional Action

Biden signed $1.2 trillion bill
Biden Urges Congressional Action

In his statement, Biden once again pressed Congress to approve additional aid. “The House should pass a bipartisan national security package to advance our national interests. And Congress must pass bipartisan border security agreements – the toughest and best reforms in decades – to ensure we have the policies and funds necessary to secure our borders. It’s time to get to work.” A bipartisan border spending bill collapsed last month when Republican senators thwarted months of negotiations with Democrats aimed at reducing the record number of illegal border crossings. 

To win Republican support, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., hinted at some additions to the spending bill for about 8,000 more detention beds for anticipated deportees. This is nearly a 24 percent increase from current levels. Additionally, GOP leadership allocated additional funds for nearly 2,000 more border patrol agents.

Democrats Proud of Funding

Democrats take pride in the $1 billion addition for Head Start programs for military families and new childcare centers, along with $120 million for cancer research and $100 million for Alzheimer’s research. The spending bill tracks with an agreement made by current House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California, with the White House in May 2023, which restricted spending for two years and suspended the debt limit until January 2025 so that the federal government could continue its payments. 

On Friday evening, after a struggle between Republicans and Democrats over approved amendments, signs of a temporary government shutdown were increasing. But shortly before midnight, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY., made an announcement. “It’s good for the country that we’ve reached this bipartisan agreement. It wasn’t easy, but tonight our perseverance paid off,” Schumer said.

House Passes Spending Bill

The House passed the spending bill legislation Friday morning with a vote of 286-134, achieving the required two-thirds majority for approval. The number of votes in favor in the House upset Republicans with the pace and substance of the funding package, which was brought to a vote. Despite the majority of Republicans voting against it, Johnson managed to push the spending bill measure through, indicating that the bill “represents the best available results in a divided government.”

In a sign of mounting frustration, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., initiated efforts to remove Johnson as soon as voting began in the House, but further action was stalled until the House returns in two weeks. This is the same tool used last year to remove McCarthy. The breakdown of votes revealed that 101 Republicans voted for the spending bill and 112 against it. Meanwhile, 185 Democrats voted for the spending bill and 22 against it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, President Biden’s signing of the $1.2 trillion spending bill comes as a relief after the Senate’s swift action in the early hours defused the looming threat of a government shutdown. This funding package addresses critical needs across various sectors, ensuring vital programs receive the necessary resources. With bipartisan support, the spending bill signifies a step towards stability and progress, providing much-needed financial certainty to government agencies and beneficiaries alike. Biden’s decisive action underscores the importance of cooperation in addressing pressing economic challenges and maintaining essential services. Overall, the passage of this spending bill marks a significant milestone in navigating the nation’s fiscal landscape and prioritizing the welfare of its citizens.

FAQs

  1. What does the $1.2 trillion funding package entail?

Answer: It includes allocations for various government programs and initiatives.

  1. Why did Biden sign the funding package?

Answer: To prevent a government shutdown and ensure continuity of essential services.

  1. How did the Senate’s early-morning passage impact the situation?

Answer: It averted the immediate threat of a shutdown by approving the funding package.

  1. What are some key components of the funding package?

Answer: It addresses funding for agencies and programs such as Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, and Interior.

  1. What message did Biden convey to Congress regarding the funding package?

Answer: He emphasized the importance of bipartisan cooperation to secure additional aid and advance national interests.

More info:  White House halts shutdown

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