U.S: Senate Approves $1.2 Trillion Spending Package to Avoid Shutdown

In the early hours of Saturday morning, the Senate approved a $1.2 trillion package of spending bills, a much-needed action nearly six months into the budget year. This move effectively postpones any threat of a government shutdown until the fall. The bill is now set to be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

The vote tally stood at 74-24, following the expiration of funding for various agencies at midnight. However, shortly after the deadline, the White House issued a notice indicating that the Office of Management and Budget had halted shutdown preparations. This decision was made with a high level of confidence that Congress would pass the legislation and that the president would sign it on Saturday.

The White House statement emphasized that since federal funds are obligated and tracked on a daily basis, agencies will not face closure and can continue their regular operations.

Friday evening witnessed escalating tensions between Republicans and Democrats over proposed amendments to the bill, fueling concerns of a potential short-term government shutdown. The contentious debate over amendments raised fears that any approved changes would necessitate sending the legislation back to the House. However, with the House already adjourned for a two-week recess, this scenario would have further complicated the legislative process.

Shortly before midnight, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a significant breakthrough. “It’s been a very long and difficult day, but we have just reached an agreement to complete the job of funding the government,” Schumer stated. “It is good for the country that we have reached this bipartisan deal. It wasn’t easy, but tonight our persistence has been worth it.”

While Congress had previously allocated funds for various agencies such as Veterans Affairs, Interior, and Agriculture, the bill approved this week is notably larger in scale. It encompasses funding for crucial departments like Defense, Homeland Security, and State, along with other aspects of general government operations.

Earlier on Friday morning, the House passed the bill with a vote of 286-134, narrowly achieving the two-thirds majority required for approval. A significant portion, over 70%, of the allocated funds are designated for defense purposes.

The voting results in the House reflected evident frustration among Republicans regarding both the content of the package and the rapidity with which it was brought to a vote. Despite House Speaker Mike Johnson bringing the measure to the floor, a majority of Republicans ultimately voted against it. Johnson defended the bill, stating that it “represents the best achievable outcome in a divided government.”

Significantly, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., signaled conservative dissatisfaction by initiating an effort to remove Johnson from his position as Speaker. However, further action on this front was postponed until the House reconvenes in two weeks. This parliamentary maneuver mirrors the approach used last year to remove the previous Republican speaker, Kevin McCarthy of California.

The voting results revealed a split among lawmakers, with 101 Republicans supporting the bill and 112 opposing it. On the Democratic side, 185 representatives voted in favor, while 22 voted against.

Following the vote, Rep. Kay Granger, the Republican chair of the House Appropriations Committee involved in crafting the package, announced her resignation from that position. However, she expressed her intention to remain on the committee to offer guidance and serve as a mentor to her colleagues as needed.


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