Biden signs gov’t funding bill soon after shutdown deadline

Washington, Mar 24 (UNI) U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday signed into law a 1.2-trillion-U.S. dollar funding package, a few hours after missing the deadline to avert a partial shutdown of the federal government.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the package on Friday, and the Senate early Saturday morning, about two hours after the deadline.

“Because obligations of federal funds are incurred and tracked on a daily basis, agencies will not shut down and may continue their normal operations,” the White House said in a statement.

The latest legislation would provide funding for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, State, and the legislative branch through the fiscal year 2024, which ends on Sept. 30.

The package would allocate approximately 62 billion dollars in overall discretionary funds for Homeland Security — which oversees border security — the most contentious part of the appropriation bills when negotiated by lawmakers.

In addition to the 459-billion-dollar bill approved earlier this month, this new measure provides complete funding for the federal government totaling 1.659 trillion dollars until the end of September, following months of stopgap funding measures due to disagreement on annual appropriation.

In the earlier package, Congress authorized annual funding for several departments including agriculture, energy and the environment, housing, transportation, veterans and the Justice Department.

The divided Congress has narrowly averted multiple shutdowns this session, with the help of stopgap bills that kept extending the deadline.

Since the start of fiscal year 2024 from Oct. 1, 2023, the Congress previously approved stopgap funding measures in September 2023, in November 2023, in January 2024 and in late February 2024.

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