Biden Signs Stopgap Spending Measure To Avert Government Shutdown

President Joe Biden signed the temporary spending bill in San Francisco on Thursday to keep the federal government up and operational through the holidays. The signing came on the eve of another potential shutdown.

It did not, however, release new aid for Ukraine’s war with Russia or Israel’s battle with Hamas in Gaza. Republicans fought to keep those issues separate from each other and succeeded while drawing bipartisan support for the temporary bill last week.

News of the signing confirmed that the federal government will continue to function at current spending levels. A long-term package still must be negotiated, but lawmakers and the White House kicked that can down the road.

Some federal agencies face a Jan. 19 deadline while others must have new appropriations by Feb. 2.

This creates a pair of potential dates in which a partial government shutdown awaits without a new agreement. That approach was pushed by new House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), though some of his colleagues did not approve.

They apparently went along to avoid being blamed for a standoff that would cast a large shadow over the Christmas season if allowed to continue. One Democrat and ten Republicans ultimately opposed the split stipulation.

It was the third close brush with a federal shutdown in 2023. A stoppage was averted in the spring and another in September kept the checks coming.

Speaker Johnson pledged that he will not support another stopgap spending measure in 2024. He said that the Christmas break will be followed by a “fight” on Capitol Hill over responsible government.

Absent from the temporary measure is Biden’s request for almost $106 billion in aid for the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. It also lacks funds some requested for humanitarian aid for Palestinians and others for enhanced border security.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas looming, it was predictable that Congress would give their approval to another stopgap measure. The true fight comes in January as Johnson issued the challenge for spend-happy Democrats.

The new year will see fireworks galore, and not just at the stroke of midnight.

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