Biden signs $1.2 trillion government funding package, averting partial shutdown

The Senate passed the bills early Saturday in a 74-24 vote.

President Joe Biden signed the funding bills package into law Saturday, the White House said, averting a partial government shutdown.

"This agreement represents a compromise, which means neither side got everything it wanted," Biden said in a statement. "But it rejects extreme cuts from House Republicans and expands access to child care, invests in cancer research, funds mental health and substance use care, advances American leadership abroad, and provides resources to secure the border that my Administration successfully fought to include."

Biden once again called on Congress to pass a national security supplemental bill to provide U.S. assistance to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, and funding for border security and reforms to border policy.

"Congress’s work isn’t finished," Biden said, later adding, "It’s time to get this done."

After a day of total procedural hijinks, the Senate passed the government funding bills in the early morning hours of Saturday, having struck an eleventh-hour amendment agreement to allow expedited passage of the bill.

The $1.2 trillion government funding bill was sent to Biden's desk as the late night drama on Capitol Hill capped a turbulent process featuring a year of haggling, six months of stopgaps and intense partisan clashes over money and policy.

Majority Leader Schumer announced the agreement on the floor early Saturday morning.

PHOTO: A view of the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, D.C., March 21, 2024.
A view of the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, D.C., March 21, 2024.
Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

"It's been a very long and difficult day but we have just reached an agreement to complete the job of funding the government. It is good for the country that we have reached this bipartisan deal it wasn't easy but tonight our persistence has been worth it," Schumer said. "It is good for the American people that we have reached an agreement to fund the government tonight."

​The White House said shortly after midnight that the Office of Management and Budget ceased its shutdown preparations, citing "a high degree of confidence" that Congress will "imminently pass" funding bills to keep the government open.

"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 after the Senate passed the bill.

PHOTO: Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks at the Capitol in Washington, March 20, 2024.
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks at the Capitol in Washington, March 20, 2024.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The bills passed in a House 286-134 vote earlier Friday afternoon, despite pushback from far-right members of the Republican caucus. More Democrats backed the bill than Republicans as more than 100 GOP lawmakers voted against it.

The $1.2 trillion package -- considered a major bipartisan effort in the highly divided House -- provides funding for six bills including Defense, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Labor and Health and Human Services and Education, Legislative Branch and State and Foreign Operations.

If the package is passed by both chambers, the government will be funded through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. It will also put an end to the continuing resolution cycle that has led to Congress nearly shutting the government down, at least partially, five times since October.

The government funding package was introduced in the House under suspension of the rules, which required a two-thirds majority vote for passage. That meant, yet again, House Speaker Mike Johnson needed to rely on Democrats to get the bills across the finish line -- a move that landed his predecessor Kevin McCarthy in hot water and led to his ouster as speaker last year.

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., took to the floor during an hour of debate to urge lawmakers to vote yes.

"This is a good result for the American people in terms of standing up for their health, their safety, their education, their national security protection and, of course, above all else, their economic wellbeing," Jeffries said.