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POLITICS

The key points of the 45-day stopgap funding bill that helped avoid the government shutdown

The crucial bill keeps the government operating but a new agreement will need to be found before Christmas.

Update:
U.S. President Joe Biden makes a statement about the stopgap government funding bill passed by the U.S. House and Senate to avert a government shutdown at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 1, 2023. REUTERS/Bonnie Cash
BONNIE CASHREUTERS

The US government has averted a shutdown as both the House and Senate reached an agreement on a short-term funding bill. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law just before the deadline, extending government funding for 45 days.

The salient point is that government workers will still be paid on time. This includes military personnel and workers in national parks.

However, this bill does not include new aid for Ukraine, which was a key demand for Democrats. President Biden criticised “extreme House Republicans” for creating a “manufactured crisis” and urged Speaker McCarthy to pass a funding deal for Ukraine without delay.

The bill received more support from Democrats than Republicans, with about 90 House Republicans voting against it. This move frustrated a small group of right-wing Republicans who had been demanding spending cuts and opposing aid for Ukraine and has resulted in a challenge to McCarthy’s leadership next week.

If at this time next week Kevin McCarthy is still speaker of the House, it will be because Democrats bailed him out,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of the Republican rebels, said in an interview on ABC.

Shutdowns happen because Congress is the only body responsible for the allocation of government funding. This means if Congress cannot pass a budget, the president does not have the power to unilaterally decide on funding.

What is the future of the government shutdown?

If lawmakers cannot reach a consensus on a full-year spending bill, they may resort to passing one or more continuing resolutions (CRs). A CR is a temporary funding measure that extends existing spending levels for a specific period, allowing the government to continue operating at current funding levels, like was seen on Saturday. This is a way to avoid a shutdown while negotiations continue.

If Congress fails to pass a new spending bill or continuing resolution after the 45 days, the government could face another shutdown.