Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Biden officially approves important government money bills, preventing a shutdown

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President Joe Biden approved a set of six bills providing money for the government on Saturday. This happened right after lawmakers worked quickly to fund important government departments and agencies for the rest of the fiscal year.

The bills were supported by the top Democrats and Republicans in both the Senate and the House. This is a big deal because, for months, they’ve been using temporary bills to avoid government shutdowns at the last minute. They managed to get this new set of bills approved just in time, before the deadline on Friday night.

The White House expressed gratitude to the leaders from both parties in Congress for their role in making this happen. The Office of Management and Budget announced on Friday night that government agencies would continue their normal work since Congress had finally passed the updated funding legislation. But there’s more to be done – lawmakers still need to finish and pass another set of funding bills by March 22.

Both Democrats and Republicans are claiming victories in this spending package. It includes money for various departments like Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Veterans Affairs, Energy, Interior, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, military construction, and other federal programs.

The Senate voted 75-22 in favor of the measure on Friday evening, after the House had already passed it earlier in the week with bipartisan support.

This package will support different programs and initiatives, such as hiring new air traffic controllers and rail safety inspectors, providing medical care and benefits for veterans, and supporting science, technology, and research programs to strengthen the US economy and compete with China, especially in fields like artificial intelligence.

House Republicans, who have a small majority, passed the package with bipartisan support on Wednesday in a 339-85 vote. Democrats have emphasized that the package funds important social safety net programs, including $7 billion for the WIC program, which helps women, infants, and children with nutrition assistance.

Republicans have highlighted spending cuts in the legislation and included some conservative policy changes. They mentioned that the legislation prevents the Department of Justice from targeting parents expressing free speech at school boards and stops the Biden Administration from taking away Second Amendment rights from veterans. It also cuts funding to the EPA, ATF, and FBI, while fully funding veterans’ health care.

However, the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative House members, officially opposed the spending package, stating that it doesn’t address many Republican policy priorities and doesn’t pressure Democrats to address border security.

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