Home Indo-Pacific US Congress Approves Stopgap Bill To Avert Govt Shutdown

US Congress Approves Stopgap Bill To Avert Govt Shutdown

US Congress

The US Congress has approved a stopgap measure to avert a potential government shutdown. The Republican-led House of Representative and Democratic Senate approved a short-term “continuing resolution”.

The bill provides temporary funding for departments including agriculture, transportation, interior, Pentagon, homeland security, health and state.

The stopgap funding bill approved under this Congress only gives lawmakers a few extra days to get it back on track.

The Senate passed the legislation in a 77-13 vote, hours after the House passed the legislation in a 320-99 vote, with two Democrats and 97 Republicans voting against the bill to continue funding several federal agencies.

The extension comes after congressional leaders said there was agreement on six of the 12 annual spending bills and plans for them to be signed before March 8, before they would face another partial shutdown.

US president Joe Biden termed this as damage control and hoped that the funding would be cleared very soon.

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“This bipartisan agreement prevents a damaging shutdown and allows more time for Congress to work toward full-year funding bills. That’s good news for the American people. But I want to be clear: this is a short-term fix—not a long-term solution,” Biden said in a statement calling on Republicans to pass full-year funding bills.

Biden is likely to sign the short-term extension bill before the deadline. The president met congressional leaders earlier in the week and warned that a government shutdown would “significantly” harm the economy.

The funding deadline for the remaining six bills would be pushed back by two weeks, to March 22.

The focus on these spending bills does not include the separate, $95.3bn aid package that the Senate approved for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan earlier this month.

Congress faces further battles in the coming weeks over funding levels for many programmes that the Republicans want to see scaled back.

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In a career spanning three decades and counting, I’ve been the foreign editor of The Telegraph, Outlook Magazine and the New Indian Express. I helped set up rediff.com’s editorial operations in San Jose and New York, helmed sify.com, and was the founder editor of India.com. My work has featured in national and international publications like the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies, Global Times and Ashahi Shimbun. My one constant over all these years, however, has been the attempt to understand rising India’s place in the world. I can rustle up a mean salad, my oil-less pepper chicken is to die for, and it just takes some beer and rhythm and blues to rock my soul.