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Biden Signs $1.2 Trillion Spending Package, Averts Government Shutdown

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Biden Signs $1.2 Trillion Spending Package, Averts Government Shutdown

(CTN News) – President Joe Biden signed a $1.2 trillion budget plan after Congress passed it, preventing a partial government shutdown.

“The bipartisan funding bill I just signed keeps the government open, invests in the American people, and strengthens our economy and national security,” Biden said in a statement released on Saturday.

According to the White House, Biden signed the legislation at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. It passed the Senate by a vote of 74-24 shortly after the financing for three-quarters of the government ended at midnight.

However, just after the deadline, the White House issued a notice indicating that the Office of Management and Budget had suspended shutdown preparations due to a high level of confidence that Congress would pass the legislation and the president would sign it on Saturday.

The plan passed by the Democratic-majority Senate will fund key government agencies such as Homeland Security, Justice, State, and Treasury, which houses the Internal Revenue Service, until September 30.

Funding Exclusions: Ukraine, Taiwan, Israel, and UNRWA

However, the plan excluded financing for largely military aid to Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel, which are contained in a separate Senate-passed package that the Republican-led House of Representatives has ignored.

The law cuts US financing for UNRWA, which provides crucial services to Palestinians in Gaza and the Middle East, until March 2025.

Following Israel’s charges that some of its Gaza Strip staff were participating in the Hamas-led strikes on October 7, the organization lost millions of dollars in international financing, led by the United States.

On Friday, the House voted 286-134, narrowly approving the six-bill package that comprises the largest and most contentious component of federal financing.

More than 70% of the funds are set aside for defense spending, with measures also addressing the military, homeland security, healthcare, and other services. The funding for the initiatives was slated to expire on March 22.

Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, stated that the agreement to fund the government was reached after a long and arduous day.

“It is excellent for the country that we have struck this bipartisan agreement. It wasn’t easy, but our tenacity paid off tonight,” he continued.

It took legislators six months into the current fiscal year to get close to finishing federal funding, which was hampered by conservatives who pushed for more policy mandates and sharper spending cutbacks than the Democratic-led Senate or White House would consider.

Biden Administration Forgives 6 Billion in Student Loans for Public Service Workers 1

To keep agencies financed during the standoff, various short-term, temporary budget bills were introduced.

Congress passed the first batch of full-year budget legislation, funding departments such as Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, and the Interior, just hours before funding lapsed.

The House vote result indicated Republican dissatisfaction with the package’s content and the pace with which it was put to a vote. Despite the fact that the majority of Republicans voted against the legislation, House Speaker Mike Johnson brought it to the floor.

To get Republican support, Johnson hailed some of the spending increases won for almost 8,000 more detention beds for migrants awaiting immigration proceedings or removal from the country, representing a 24 percent increase over current levels. Republican leadership emphasized more funding to hire approximately 2,000 border patrol agents.

Democrats, on the other hand, announced a $1 billion increase in funding for Head Start, an early childhood development program, as well as new childcare centers for military families. They also highlighted a $120 million boost in funding for cancer research and a $100 million increase in Alzheimer’s research.

SEE ALSO: Biden Administration Forgives $6 Billion in Student Loans for Public Service Workers

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