Official shutdown: Biden signs bill to keep government open before midnight

The bill passed the previous day in a bipartisan vote in the House and Senate.

Government funding was due to expire at midnight, but Democratic congressional leaders controlling both chambers of Congress expressed confidence that the government would remain open.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday evening that an agreement had been reached, paving the way for Thursday’s vote in the House in a series of resolutions that would finance the government at its current level for a specified period.

“Some good news – today the Senate will pass an ongoing resolution that eliminates the possibility of a government shutdown tonight,” Schumer said in a floor comment Thursday morning.

The majority leader said that in addition to funding the government until December, the Stopgap Bill would “provide funding to assist in the processing and resettlement of Afghan refugees and ultimately provide serious disaster assistance to Americans affected by storms and fires this summer.”

Congressional Democrats initially tried to address government funding issues in addition to funding limits, a strategy that failed Republicans in the Senate who insisted that Democrats must work alone on limitations.

On Monday, the Senate passed a House-pass bill that expands government funding to close and suspend the limit, but Republicans blocked the move. Senate Republicans have said they will support a “clean” stopgap funding bill to avoid a shutdown if there is no limit.

In passing a “clean” stopgap bill to stop the shutdown, lawmakers quickly pushed the issue of the key limit to a more important deadline.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that the federal government will probably end the cash and extraordinary measures by October 18, giving Congress very little time which could be a catastrophic default.

Democrats have the option of raising their own the limit by using a process known as budget reconciliation, but they have argued that the route is highly risky and will cause a default risk, not specifying how unclear it will be.

This story and headline was updated on Thursday to reflect additional developments.

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