WASHINGTON (AP) – US President Joe Biden signed an interim spending bill on Friday that will keep the federal government running until February 18.
The White House issued a statement saying it reported on the signing and thanked legislative leaders for their work. Earlier in the day, Biden said it was important to praise bipartisanship, but that “funding the government is not a great achievement, it is the least that should be done.”
Both houses of Congress approved the interim measure Thursday to avoid a government shutdown over the weekend. The law will keep the federal government running for an additional 11 weeks, generally at current spending levels, while adding $ 7 billion in aid for people evacuated from Afghanistan.
“I am glad that in the end calm prevailed. The government will remain open and I thank the members of this House for saving us from the brink of an avoidable, unnecessary and costly shutdown, ”said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The Senate approved the measure by a vote of 69-28. Nineteen Republican senators joined Democrats in favor of the law.
The lower house, with a Democratic majority, approved it 221-212. Republican leaders called on their members to vote against it. The only Republican vote in favor was for Adam Kinzinger.
Lawmakers regretted the short-term solution and blamed the rival party for the lack of progress on this year’s spending initiatives. Democratic Representative Rosa DeLauro, who chairs the Appropriations commission, said that the measure, however, will allow negotiations to be held on a package that will cover the entire budget year until September.
Some Republicans opposed to Biden’s vaccination rules wanted Congress to take a firm stand against the mandate for workers at large companies, even if it meant that federal offices would have to close from the weekend by refusing to speed up the vote on the law of expenses.
It was the latest instance of risky haggling over government funding that has caused several costly federal shutdowns in the past two decades. The largest in history occurred during the presidency of Donald Trump – 35 days to January 2019 – when Democrats refused to approve money for their wall on the border with Mexico.