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Biden signs government funding bills to avoid partial shutdown

President Biden on Saturday signed the government spending legislation to keep an array of federal departments open, as lawmakers turn their focus to the remaining appropriations bills.

Biden signed the $460 billion package of six spending bills, which passed the Senate earlier Friday. The package funds military construction, water development and the departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Energy, Interior, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development.

Though the funding deadline was midnight Friday, agencies did not shut down and were able to continue normal operations because Congress had passed the relevant appropriations and federal funds are incurred and tracked on a daily basis, the White House said.

The Senate voted 75-22 Friday evening to pass the bill. Their approval capped off weeks of tough bipartisan, bicameral funding talks, which began to pick up at the start of the year.

The passage of what’s been called the “minibus” also followed last-minute drama in the upper chamber that threatened to push the final vote beyond the midnight funding deadline.

The legislation passed the House 339-85, with 207 Democrats and 132 Republicans throwing their support behind the measure. It is in line with the spending caps deal reached between former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and President Biden last year.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Schumer reaffirmed the spending deal, which sets a $1.65 trillion spending top line and includes $69 billion in adjustments that were part of a “side deal” to raise the federal debt limit in 2023.

Senators will now work to pass the remaining six appropriations bills funding the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and other priorities before the March 22 deadline.

Lawmakers view the second tranche of funding bills as thornier, as conservatives are looking to attach policy riders to block the Pentagon from reimbursing the travel costs of service members who obtain abortions and to zero out Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas’s salary — after House Republicans impeached him last month.

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