President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law a short-term spending bill to keep the U.S. federal government running through early December, acting with just hours remaining before a partial shutdown was due.
The measure, which also includes funding for natural-disaster relief and aid to Afghan refugees, cleared the Senate earlier Thursday on a vote of 65 to 35, with 15 Republicans including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joining all Democrats in voting yes. It then passed the House with 254 “yes” votes, as 34 Republicans voted with Democrats.
The legislation funds the government through Dec. 3. Without the so-called continuing resolution, the government would have partially shut down after midnight. Past shutdowns have resulted in the furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal workers, delayed tax refunds, and forced the closures of national parks and monuments.
The legislation leaves aside the issue of raising the U.S. federal debt limit, which Republicans say Democrats must do on their own. GOP senators earlier blocked a separate House-passed bill to prevent a shutdown and raise the federal borrowing limit. That put pressure on Democrats to deliver a measure that would only address a shutdown.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the chamber will consider another House-passed bill to raise the debt limit “as early as next week.” On Wednesday, the House passed a measure that would raise the limit through December 2022.
The stopgap bill passed Thursday keeps government funding at current levels and also contains $28.6 billion for disaster assistance and $6.3 billion for Afghan refugees.
Meanwhile, the outcome of a planned House vote on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill was less clear Thursday, as progressive Democrats were threatening to oppose it.
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