What does the stopgap spending bill signed by Biden include?
Signed late last night, the temporary funding bill has staved off a government shutdown for now but it also includes other provisions.
Despite much uncertainty leading into Thursday, all levers of government, the president, the House and the Senate all passed their portions of a temporary spending bill that has prevented a government shutdown from today. The Senate voted 65-35 in favor of the bill and the House of Representatives followed suit by voting 254-175. President Biden rubber-stamped it soon after and the lights will stay on for now.
But the bill is only temporary and there will be further trouble when it comes up for renewal again in December.
What are the provisions in the bill
While many in the federal government are breathing a sigh of relief over the news, the spending bill only appropriates funds for the next nine weeks. If a longer-term spending bill cannot be agreed by Congress then there could be another shutdown come December 3, the new deadline. There are also no provisions for either of the reconciliation or infrastructure bills or items like the Child Tax Credit or social security.
Included in the stopgap government spending bill is $6.3bn in assistance to pay for the US military’s August airlift from Kabul airport and for Afghan refugee resettlement programs. It also includes billions more for Americans affected by the natural disasters which have plagued the country, and the world, this year.
However, the bill doesn't address another serious fiscal problem, that of the debt default on October 18. The US will no longer be able to borrow more money to pay for bills. The country has never defaulted on its debt before and such an event would send shockwaves across the world economy. Investing in the US is seen as a very safe choice, so any instance when this is no longer the case would have a huge impact on the US economy.
The US Senate wrangled Wednesday over a stopgap funding bill with just one day left to prevent a government shutdown, as lawmakers stare down deadlines with massive stakes for the economy and President Joe Biden's sweeping domestic agenda ➡️https://t.co/VNBs4B51Jz @frankietaggart pic.twitter.com/MJsxwPkOgr— AFP News Agency (@AFP) September 29, 2021
How have politicians described the bill?
Before it was passed, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen put the importance of the bill in stark terms in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, saying, "In a matter of days, millions of Americans could be strapped for cash."
"Nearly 50 million seniors could stop receiving Social Security checks for a time," she wrote. "Troops could go unpaid. Millions of families who rely on the monthly child tax credit could see delays."
President Biden tweeted his support for the bill after signing it yesterday/
Tonight I signed the continuing resolution to fund our government through December. It funds critical needs like our COVID-19 response, resettling our Afghan allies, and disaster assistance — and gives us more time to pass longer-term funding and deliver for the American people. pic.twitter.com/sUCtKugVto— President Biden (@POTUS) September 30, 2021
“This is a good outcome, one I’m happy we are getting done,” Chuck Schumer, the top Democratic senator, told colleagues on the Senate floor before voting took place. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had already said the Republicans would support the bill, but 35 still voted against it.
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