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Biden signs spending bill to avoid government shutdown

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  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                President Joe Biden arrives at the White House in Washington, Thursday, after traveling to Brownsville, Texas.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President Joe Biden arrives at the White House in Washington, Thursday, after traveling to Brownsville, Texas.

WASHINGTON >> President Joe Biden today signed a short-term spending measure that keeps one set of federal agencies operating through March 8 and another set through March 22 — officially staving off a partial government shutdown that would have started on Sunday.

The measure gives lawmakers some more time to draft and pass spending measures to keep the federal government operating for the current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30. Washington has been running on a series of short-term measures because Congress, as it routinely does, had failed to enact full-year spending bills on time.

“This bipartisan agreement prevents a damaging shutdown and allows more time for Congress to work toward full-year funding bills,” Biden said in a statement Thursday evening after both the House and Senate cleared the temporary fix. “That’s good news for the American people. But I want to be clear: this is a short-term fix—not a long-term solution.”

The House acted first on Thursday. The vote to approve the extension was 320-99. It easily cleared the two-thirds majority needed for passage. Democrats overwhelmingly voted to avert a partial shutdown. But the vote was much more divided with Republicans, 113 in support and 97 against. The Senate then took up the bill and approved it during an evening vote of 77-13.

Next week, the House and Senate are expected to take up a package of six spending bills and get them to the president before March 8. Then, lawmakers would work to fund the rest of the government by the new March 22 deadline.

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