Biden Signs Bill to Avert Govt Shutdown10/01 08:13
President Joe Biden signed into law Friday a bill that finances the federal
government through mid-December and provides another infusion of military and
economic aid to Ukraine after lawmakers acted to avert a partial government
shutdown set to begin after midnight.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Joe Biden signed into law Friday a bill that
finances the federal government through mid-December and provides another
infusion of military and economic aid to Ukraine after lawmakers acted to avert
a partial government shutdown set to begin after midnight.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 230-201 earlier in the day.
Republicans overwhelmingly opposed the measure. Some wanted to extend
government funding into January when, based on the results of the midterm
elections, it's possible they'll have more leverage over setting federal
spending for the full fiscal year. Others argued the measure needed to do more
to address border security.
Democrats said passing the bill was important to helping Ukraine as well as
victims of recent natural disasters in the U.S., including Hurricane Ian, as it
provides a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster fund with a year's
worth of money up front rather than for two-and-a-half months.
"Turn on the news. Look what's happening in Florida right now. Look at what
happened to Puerto Rico. Look at what's happening in Alaska. I mean, people
need help," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. "And look at what's happening in
Ukraine. Do we support helping preserve democracy in Ukraine or not? That's
what's at stake here."
But Republicans complained the bill brought to the floor was not subject to
bipartisan negotiations in the House and didn't reflect their priorities.
"We know we have a crisis on the southern border. You can turn on the
television every night. You can look at the fentanyl pouring into the country,
You can see the tragedy of human trafficking. Is there anything in this bill
that asks us to do anything different, anything new?" said Rep. Tom Cole,
R-Okla. "No, you just ask, 'please allow us to continue the current state of
affairs on the southern border.' That is a travesty."
In the end, support for the bill was unanimous among Democratic lawmakers.
Only 10 Republican lawmakers joined them in voting yes.
Later Friday, former President Donald Trump responded to the bill's passage
with a racist message on his social media platform attacking Senate Republican
leader Mitch McConnell and his Asian American wife, who also served in Trump's
administration as a Cabinet secretary. Trump ominously wrote that McConnell has
a "death wish."
The bill finances the federal government through Dec. 16 and buys lawmakers
more time to agree on legislation setting spending levels for the 2023 fiscal
year. The bill generally keeps spending at current levels, though it does
provide more than $12.3 billion in Ukraine-related aid. The money will go to
provide training, equipment and logistics support for the Ukraine military,
help Ukraine's government provide basic services to its citizens and replenish
U.S. weapons systems and munitions.
"This contribution ensures we continue upholding our moral responsibility to
support the people of Ukraine in the face of a vicious invasion that continues
to demand decisive action by us," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the Democratic chair
of the House Appropriations Committee.
Disaster assistance was also attached to the stopgap bill, including $2.5
billion to help New Mexico communities recover from the Hermit's Peak/Calf
Canyon Fire, the largest wildfire in the state's history; $2 billion for a
block grant program that aids the economic recovery of communities impacted by
recent disasters; and $20 million for water and wastewater infrastructure
improvements previously authorized for Jackson, Mississippi.
"We cannot leave communities behind that are still picking up the pieces
from disastrous floods, wildfires and hurricane, and even basic water system
failures," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.
The bill would provide an additional $1 billion for a program that helps
low-income households heat their homes. And it would transfer $3 billion from a
Pentagon aid program to the State Department for continued Afghan resettlement
Lawmakers also included a reauthorization of the Food and Drug
Administration's user fee agreements for five years, which ensures the agency
can continue critical product safety reviews and won't need to issue pink slips
for thousands of employees working on drug and medical device applications.
One thing missing from the bill is the billions of dollars in additional
funding that Biden sought to aid the response to COVID-19 and monkeypox.
Republicans criticized the health spending as unnecessary. The White House said
the money would have been used to accelerate the research and development of
vaccines and therapeutics, prepare for future COVID variants and support the