Biden Averts Government Shutdown, Signs Funding Bill

Just hours ahead of a midnight deadline on Friday when funding was set to expire, the House of Representatives averted a government shutdown by approving a stopgap bill to fund the government through December 16.

The measure passed the Senate on a bipartisan basis on Thursday while President Joe Biden signed the bill Friday afternoon.

In addition to money to keep government agencies afloat, the continuing resolution also extends for another five years an expiring FDA user fee program, provides around $12 billion for Ukraine, and requires the Pentagon to report on how US aid has been spent there.

The additional funding to Ukraine, which is a bipartisan priority, allocates an additional $3,7 billion in presidential drawdown authority funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative that allows the Pentagon to procure and purchase new weapons from industry instead of drawing directly from US stockpiles of weapons and sending them to the country.

It also provides and $1.5 billion for the US to replenish US stocks that have been sent to the country over the past seven months, a fact sheet from Senate Democrats about the bill states.

Although in recent years it became typical of Congress to run right up against funding deadlines, partly because it’s easier for the opposing parties to reach last-minute deals to stave off a shutdown, this time lawmakers had expressed confidence there wouldn’t be a shutdown.

In part, that’s because neither party wanted to be blamed for a shutdown at a time when lawmakers up for reelection in the upcoming November midterm elections are eager to finish up its Capitol Hill’s work so they can return home to campaign.

As Democrats and Republicans are both trying to make their case to voters that they should be in the majority, it’s the control of Congress at stake in the November midterms.

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