Biden signs bill averting government shutdown
President Biden signed a short-term funding bill on Friday, averting a government shutdown hours before the deadline.
A group of conservatives in the House and Senate had threatened the fate of the legislation over opposition to Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandate before finally allowing the legislation to pass.
The bill funds government operations through Feb. 18, meaning that lawmakers will need to work on another appropriations bill early in the new year.
The funding bill was in limbo even after it passed the House almost completely along party lines on Thursday afternoon, amid a standoff between a group of Republican senators and others in the Senate over their push to use the bill to defund Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for private businesses with at least 100 employees.
The impasse was resolved when Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) agreed to demands from conservatives to hold a vote on an amendment to defund Biden’s vaccine requirement, which has already been held up in court due to legal challenges. The legislation is unlikely to become law: even if the vote passes the Senate, it would need to pass the Democratic-controlled House, and even then Biden could veto it.
Ultimately, the bill funding the government passed the Senate 69-28.
The White House had urged lawmakers to swiftly pass the short-term funding bill as lawmakers raced to find a resolution on Thursday. The action averts the crisis of a government shutdown and gives Democrats space to work on advancing the rest of Biden’s economic agenda and carving out a path to address the debt ceiling before a Dec. 15 deadline.
Schumer is aiming to put Biden’s climate and social spending package on the floor as soon as Dec.13 and the White House is hoping for action before the Christmas holiday.