Biden signs off on stopgap spending bill, averting government shutdown

17 Dec 2022 10:33am
United States President Joe Biden - FILE PIX
United States President Joe Biden - FILE PIX
WASHINGTON - United States President Joe Biden signed short-term spending legislation on Friday to avoid a government shutdown as negotiators continue to work on a longer-term spending package.

The president's action comes after the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved what is known as a short-term continuing resolution, which funds the government at current levels through Dec 23.

They had until midnight on Friday to act in order to avoid a costly shutdown, Anadolu Agency reported.

Negotiators in the House and Senate are continuing to iron out details on a larger omnibus spending package, estimated to cost US$1.7 trillion, which would fund the government through the current fiscal year.

Republicans in the House have opposed efforts to craft the larger package before they assume control of the chamber in January and were hoping to hold out until then to have a larger say in the spending legislation.

Kevin McCarthy, the House's top Republican, said the party should be allowed to weigh in on the spending bill, given its success in the Nov 8 midterm elections, calling for Congress to pass a longer-term spending bill that would fund the government at current levels through the new year.

"A month ago, the American people voted for a new direction in Washington. It was their will that the current business-as-usual approach needs to stop," he told reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday.

"The Democrats have been in power. They've had the House, the Senate and the presidency. They did not do their work, but they should not jam us now," he added.

Republicans are slated to take control of the House following last month's elections, but they have also lost one seat in the Senate with Democrats there now able to claim an outright majority after the chamber was evenly split for the past two years.
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Negotiators from the House and Senate announced Tuesday night that they had reached a consensus on a "framework" funding deal for the full fiscal year but said final details still needed to be agreed upon. They suggested the agreement could be finalised next week.

Unlike McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has thrown his weight behind the omnibus package, calling it preferable to the alternatives. - BERNAMA