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Congress approves short-term funding to prevent government shutdown

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  • Staff Report 

Congress passed a short-term funding measure on Thursday to prevent a partial government shutdown, setting different extension deadlines for federal agencies through March 8 and March 22. This move, which now awaits President Joe Biden’s signature, aims to avoid disruptions in federal operations. The measure marks the fourth extension in recent months, with House Speaker Mike Johnson indicating progress on annual spending bills and expressing optimism about finalizing the budget for the current fiscal year.

The House approved the extension with a significant majority, showcasing strong Democratic support but a divided Republican stance. Subsequently, the Senate endorsed the bill in a 77-13 vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer emphasized the importance of averting a shutdown for the welfare of the American public. Upcoming weeks will see Congress focusing on a package of six spending bills, with a goal to finalize government funding by the newly set deadlines.

The temporary extension ensures continuity for various departments, including Agriculture and Transportation, until March 8, and for the Pentagon and Homeland Security until March 22. While leaders express confidence in reaching agreements on the spending bills, internal GOP debates over spending levels and policy changes highlight the challenges in navigating a divided government. Congressional efforts continue towards finalizing over $1.6 trillion in spending for the fiscal year, amidst calls for action on a separate aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

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