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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Biden signs bill to avert partial government shutdown

by kevin freaking

WASHINGTON (AP) — With only hours left, President Joe Biden signed legislation Thursday evening that would avoid a partial federal shutdown and keep the government funded until Dec. Congress had passed the bill earlier on Thursday.

Back-to-back votes by the Senate and then the House averted one crisis, but delays continued on another as political parties dig into the controversy over whether the government’s borrowing cap should be capped before the United States risks a potentially catastrophic default. how to increase

The House approved the short-term funding measure by a vote of 254-175, shortly after the Senate passed it in a 65-35 vote. A large number of Republicans in both houses voted against it. The law was required to keep the government running after the current budget year ended at midnight on Thursday. The passage will give lawmakers more time to devise spending measures that will fund federal agencies and the programs they run.

“There’s a lot more to do,” Biden said in a statement after signing. “But the passage of this bill reminds us that bipartisan work is possible and it gives us time to pass long-term funding to run our government and deliver for the American people.”

The task of keeping the government open and running serves as a backdrop for Democrats during a chaotic day as they struggle to get Biden’s top domestic priorities to the finish line, with the House at risk of stalling. Also included was a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

“It’s a glimmer of hope as we go through so many other activities,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y.

With their energy focused on Biden’s agenda, Democrats backed out of a showdown over debt limits in a government funding bill, deciding to set aside borrowing limits at the urging of Republicans. If that limit is not raised by October 18, the US will likely face a financial crisis and an economic downturn, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.

Republicans say Democrats have votes to raise the debt limit on their own, and Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is insisting they do so.

The short-term spending law would provide about $28.6 billion in disaster relief for those recovering from Hurricane Ida and other natural disasters. Some $10 billion of that money will help farmers cover crop losses from drought, wildfires and hurricanes. The additional $6.3 billion will help support the resettlement of people evacuated from Afghanistan from the 20-year war between the US and the Taliban.

“It’s a great result, I’m glad we’re doing it,” Schumer said. “With so many things to take care of in Washington, the last thing the American people need is for the government to stop.”

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Temporarily, once the government is funded, Democrats will turn their full attention to the need to raise the limit on federal borrowing, which now stands at $28.4 trillion.

The US has never defaulted on its debts in the modern era and historically, both sides have voted to raise the limit. Democrats joined the Republican Senate majority three times in doing so during Donald Trump’s presidency. This time Democrats wanted to address both priorities in one bill, but Senate Republicans blocked that effort on Monday.

Raising or suspending the debt limit allows the federal government to pay off obligations that have already been incurred. It does not authorize new spending. McConnell has argued that Democrats should pass a debt ceiling expansion with the same budgetary tools they are using to expand social safety net programs and pass a $3.5 trillion effort to tackle climate change . He reiterated that warning as the Senate opened on Thursday, even as Democrats labeled that option a “nonstarter.”

“We are able to fund the government today because the majority has accepted the reality. The same will need to be done on the debt limit next week,” McConnell said.

House Democrats late Wednesday pushed through a stand-alone bill that would suspend the debt limit until December 2022. Schumer said he would bring the measure to the Senate floor, but the bill is almost certain to be blocked by a Republican filibuster.

The arguments made in both the Houses about the debt ceiling follow similar themes.

House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., told Republicans, “You’re more interested in punishing the Democrats than in preserving our credit, and that’s something that got me going a real hard way around my head.” Time is running out.” “The idea of ​​not paying the bills just because we don’t like (Biden’s) policies is the wrong way to go.”

Fearless, Republicans argued that the Democrats chose to Ram on their own through their political preferences and are thus responsible for raising the debt limit on their own.

“As long as the Democratic majority continues to insist on spending money on fists, Republicans will refuse to help them lift the debt limit,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.

The Treasury has taken steps to preserve cash, but once it runs out, it will be forced to rely on incoming revenue to pay off its obligations. This will likely mean delayed payments to Social Security recipients, veterans and government employees, including military personnel. The Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank, projects that the federal government will be unable to meet about 40% of payments in the coming weeks.


Associated Press writer Brian Slodisko contributed to this report.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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