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Government shutdown averted as Congress extends funding

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U.S. lawmakers on Thursday approved a measure funding the federal government through early March, avoiding a partial shutdown that would have begun Saturday morning and buying themselves more time to hash out a bigger funding package.

After passing through both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the bill now goes to President Joe Biden for signature.

The bill funds some departments — including Agriculture, Transportation and Energy — through March 1, while the rest of the government, including the Pentagon, would be funded through March 8. Shutdowns would ensue after those dates without further spending measures.

The current measure is intended to give lawmakers more time to pass spending bills worth $1.66 trillion that would fund the government through the fall.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, called the bill “good news for every American, especially our veterans, parents and children, farmers and small businesses, all of whom would have felt the sting of a shutdown.”

Some House Republicans were unhappy with the measure, and more than 100 members of the House GOP voted against it. The defections forced House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, to rely on Democrats to pass the bill. The House vote was 314 to 108, while the Senate’s vote was 77-18.

The ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus blasted the bill and urged Johnson to walk away from the bigger budget package he agreed with Schumer earlier this month.

Johnson should “pass an appropriations package that meaningfully reduces spending year over year and secures our southern border,” the group said.

From the archives (September 2023): What stock investors need to know about U.S. government shutdowns

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