Government shutdown: Biden signs fundraising bill

U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as he delivers remarks before receiving a third dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the South Court auditorium of the White House on September 27, 2021 in Washington, DC.

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Congress avoided a government shutdown Thursday hours before funding expired.

President Joe Biden has signed a short-term appropriations bill that will keep the government in business until December 3. Washington had to beat a deadline Thursday at midnight to prevent the shutdown of certain federal operations.

In a statement after signing the measure, Biden said it “meets the nation’s critical and urgent needs.” He added that “there is so much more to do”.

The Senate and House approved funding legislation earlier Thursday. The Senate passed it by 65 votes to 35, with 50 Democrats supporting it and 15 Republicans joining.

The House passed the bill by a margin of 254-175. Every Democratic representative and 34 Republicans backed him.

The so-called continuing resolution will set spending at current levels in December while lawmakers develop an annual fundraising plan. The legislation provides money for hurricane relief and the resettlement of Afghan refugees.

“It’s a good result, I’m happy we’re done,” Schumer said ahead of the Senate vote.

A government shutdown could have resulted in federal workers’ leave and the suspension of some services. A funding deadline could have posed particular challenges in US efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic – although the Biden administration has said a shutdown would have little effect on public health functions.

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Congress was supposed to quell a possible crisis on Thursday, but another is looming. Lawmakers still need to raise or suspend the debt ceiling before Oct. 18 to avoid a possible default on U.S. debt that would lead to job losses, economic damage and a downturn in the stock market.

Democrats, who control both houses of Congress, have attempted to fund the government and suspend the debt ceiling as part of the same bill. Senate Republicans have blocked the legislation, even though extending the cap does not allow new spending. The approval would allow the Treasury to cover its existing obligations.

Senatorial Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Has repeatedly said his party will vote for a fundraising bill without a suspension of the debt ceiling.

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