Biden signs bill to avoid a government shutdown

November 18, 2023

President Joe Biden has signed a spending bill designed to prevent a government shutdown. 

Biden, according to the Associated Press, did so on Thursday, the day before the government shutdown was scheduled to take place.

Biden, as we will see, celebrated the avoidance of the government shutdown in a message that he posted to X on Friday.

But, the fact of the matter is that this bill does not really accomplish a whole lot. Rather, it just means that, rather than dealing with the problem now, it will have to be dealt with in the future, at a later date.

The bill

The bill that Biden signed on Thursday easily made it through both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate this past week. It originates from the House of Representative's new speaker, U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA).

"The spending package keeps government funding at current levels for roughly two more months while a long-term package is negotiated," The Associated Press reports.

The outlet adds, "It splits the deadlines for passing full-year appropriations bills into two dates: Jan. 19 for some federal agencies and Feb. 2 for others, creating two dates when there will be a risk of a partial government shutdown."

Significantly, the bill does not include funding for either the war between Russia and Ukraine or the war between Israel and Palestine. ABC News reports:

The spending bill does not include the White House’s nearly $106 billion request for wartime aid for Israel and Ukraine. Nor does it provide humanitarian funding for Palestinians and other supplemental requests, including money for border security.

These are hotly debated issues, and if such funding was included it is more likely that the government shutdown would not have been averted. Johnson, it ought to be noted, had to rely on help from Democrats to get the bill through Congress.

Biden celebrates

President Biden took to X on Friday to celebrate the signing of the bill.

"Last night I signed a bill preventing a government shutdown. It’s an important step but we have more to do,"  Biden wrote.

He continued, "I urge Congress to address our national security and domestic needs — and House Republicans to stop wasting time on extreme bills and honor our bipartisan budget agreement."

Now, thanks to this new bill, Congress has about two months to negotiate a spending deal. Commentators are predicting, though, that the likelihood is that America will be facing another government shutdown. This is because, up until now, there has simply been little to no progress in the spending negotiations.

We'll have to see if this changes between now and the deadlines set by the new bill.

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