U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as he delivers remarks ahead of receiving a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the South Court Auditorium in the White House September 27, 2021 in Washington, DC.
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Congress avoided a government shutdown Thursday hours before funding would have lapsed.
President Joe Biden signed a short-term appropriations bill that will keep the government running through Dec. 3. Washington had to beat a midnight Thursday deadline to prevent a shutdown of some federal operations.
In a statement after he signed the measure, Biden said it “meets critical and urgent needs of the nation.” He added that “there’s so much more to do.”
The Senate and House approved the funding legislation earlier Thursday. The Senate passed it in a 65-35 vote as all 50 Democrats backed it and 15 Republicans joined them.
The House passed the bill by a 254-175 margin. Every Democratic representative and 34 Republicans supported it.
The so-called continuing resolution will set spending at current levels into December while lawmakers hash out a full-year funding plan. The legislation includes money for hurricane relief and the resettlement of Afghan refugees.
“This is a good outcome, one I’m happy we are getting done,” Schumer said before the Senate vote.
A government shutdown could have led to furloughs of federal workers and the suspension of certain services. A funding lapse could have posed particular challenges during U.S. efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic — though the Biden administration has said a shutdown would have little effect on public health functions.
Congress was set to snuff out one possible crisis Thursday but has another looming. Lawmakers still need to raise or suspend the debt ceiling before Oct. 18 to prevent a possible default on U.S. debt that would result in job losses, economic damage and a drop in the stock market.
Democrats, who control both chambers of Congress, tried to fund the government and suspend the debt ceiling as part of the same bill. Senate Republicans blocked the legislation, even though extending the ceiling doesn’t authorize new spending. Approval would let the Treasury to cover its existing obligations.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., repeatedly said his party would vote for a funding bill without a suspension of the debt ceiling.