Government shutdown averted as Biden signs funding bill
The House of Representatives voted on Friday to approve a stopgap bill to fund the government through December 16, averting a shutdown just hours ahead of a midnight deadline when funding was set to expire.
President Joe Biden signed the bill Friday afternoon. The Senate passed the measure on a bipartisan basis on Thursday.
Lawmakers had expressed confidence there wouldn’t be a shutdown, but it is typical of Congress in recent years to run right up against funding deadlines.
In part, that’s because the opposing parties find it easier to reach last-minute deals to stave off a shutdown under tight time pressure.
This time around, neither party wanted to be blamed for a shutdown — especially so close to the consequential November midterm elections where control of Congress is at stake and as Democrats and Republicans are both trying to make their case to voters that they should be in the majority. Lawmakers up for reelection are also eager to finish up work on Capitol Hill so they can return to their home states to campaign.
In addition to money to keep government agencies afloat, the short-term funding measure provides around $12 billion for Ukraine as it continues to counter Russia’s invasion of the country, and requires the Pentagon to report on how US dollars have been spent there. The aid to Ukraine is a bipartisan priority.
The continuing resolution also extends an expiring FDA user fee program for five years.
Additional funding for Ukraine
The $12 billion in additional funding for Ukraine provides money for the US to continue sending weapons to replenish US stocks that have been sent to the country over the past seven months during the ongoing conflict.
In order to continue providing Ukraine with weapons to counter Russia’s offensive, the bill allocates an additional $3 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. This pot of money allows the US to procure and purchase weapons from industry and send them to the country, instead of drawing directly from US stockpiles of weapons.
The bill also authorizes an additional $3.7 billion in presidential drawdown authority funding, which allows the US to send weapons directly from US stockpiles, and $1.5 billion is included to “replenish US stocks of equipment” provided to Ukraine, a fact sheet from Senate Democrats about the bill states.
The bill designates $4.5 billion for the “economic support fund” to provide “support to maintain the operation of Ukraine’s national government,” the fact sheet states.
The US has provided Ukraine with significant economic and military support since Russia’s invasion of the country began in February, committing more than $16.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, since the Russian invasion began in February, a Department of Defense release stated on Wednesday.
This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.
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