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Friday, April 19, 2024

Biden signs $1.2 trillion spending package to keep government open

(The Hill) — President Biden on Saturday signed a $1.2 trillion government funding bill to stave off a government shutdown, capping a frenetic sprint by lawmakers to pass the final batch of appropriations measures.

Biden praised the measure as a compromise, and “good news for the American people.”

“This agreement represents a compromise, which means neither side got everything it wanted,” Biden continued, emphasizing that it rejected “extreme cuts from House Republicans and expands access to child care, invests in cancer research, funds mental health and substance use care, advances American leadership abroad, and provides resources to secure the border that my Administration successfully fought to include. That’s good news for the American people.”

Biden held Congress to task in his remarks, calling on the House to pass a national security supplemental and Congress to pass a border security agreement.

“It’s time to get this done,” Biden said.

The House passed the legislation Friday with a bipartisan 286-134 vote, which spurred a push among some conservatives to oust Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.). 

The bill passed the Senate in a 74-24 vote early Saturday morning following hours of intense negotiations.

Though the president signed the bill after Friday’s midnight deadline, the Office of Management and Budget ceased shutdown preparations when it became clear the bill would reach Biden’s desk imminently.

“Because obligations of federal funds are incurred and tracked on a daily basis, agencies will not shut down and may continue their normal operations,” the White House said.

The legislation provides $1.2 trillion in funding for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security (DHS), Labor, Health and Human Services, State, as well as general government, financial services and foreign operations.

Defense spending sees a bump of more than three percent, in line with a deal struck last year between President Biden and House GOP leadership to limit federal spending. Nondefense funding is roughly flat, compared to the previous fiscal year.

The bills don’t make the drastic cuts House Republicans sought in their partisan funding proposals from last year, but the party has also boasted what they call a break from previous years when both sides would haggle over parity between defense and nondefense funding increases.

Some programs that see more modest cuts in the package include the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Friday’s bill signing marked the third time this month the president has put his signature on a bath of funding legislation to avoid some type of government shutdown. He most recently signed a $460 billion package of six spending bills on March 9, which funded military construction, water development and the departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Energy, Interior, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development.

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