Biden Signs $1.2 Trillion Funding Package averting Shut-down

On March 24, 2024, US President Joe Biden signed into law a long-awaited $1.2 trillion funding package passed by Congress, keeping federal agencies running through September and averting a damaging partial government shutdown.

Background

The funding package, which represents the largest and most contentious section of federal funding, had been the subject of months of acrimonious wrangling between Democrats and Republicans. The House of Representatives passed the six-bill package, but the Senate missed the midnight deadline to pass the legislation, putting the government at risk of a partial shutdown.

Senate Passage

After hours of tense negotiations, the Senate reached a last-minute agreement and passed the funding legislation by a vote of 74-24, more than two hours after the midnight deadline.

Scope of the Funding Package

The $1.2 trillion package covers funding for a range of critical government operations, including:

  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Education
  • Department of State
  • Legislative Branch

The legislation represents about 70% of government agencies and departments, with the remaining 30% (covering agriculture, science, veterans programs, transport, and housing) having been funded last month.

Reaction from President Biden

In a statement following the bill’s signing, President Biden said, “The bipartisan funding bill I just signed keeps the government open, invests in the American people, and strengthens our economy and national security.” He also called on Congress to approve additional national and border security funding.

Controversy and Opposition

The passage of the funding package was not without controversy. Republican hard-liners were angered by a lack of stricter border security provisions in the package, as well as the overall price tag and the elevated speed with which the deal was negotiated.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, filed a “motion to vacate” the speaker’s chair over Johnson’s endorsement of the funding package. The resolution, which requires a simple majority to pass, could potentially lead to Johnson’s removal as House Speaker.

Important Facts for Exams

  • The funding package’s passage came just hours before a potential partial government shutdown, which would have affected about 70% of government agencies and departments.
  • The legislation brings an end to months of acrimonious wrangling between Democrats and Republicans over federal spending priorities.
  • The package represents a compromise between the two parties, with neither side getting everything they wanted.
  • The threat of a “motion to vacate” the House Speaker’s chair highlights the ongoing tensions within the Republican Party over government spending and border security.

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