Biden Signs Bill Averting Shutdown, Teeing Up 2024 Budget Battle

President Joe Biden highlighted the need for drug price strategy changes Tuesday, in Washington, during the 2022 State of the Union address. (Photo: White House)

President Joe Biden signed a stopgap bill to extend government funding into early 2024, averting a government shutdown for now but kicking a politically-divisive debate over federal spending into a presidential election year.

The White House confirmed the move in a statement early Friday morning in Washington, less than a day before existing funding would have expired. Biden — in California for a summit of APEC leaders — signed the legislation on Thursday, according to the statement.

Facing that Friday night deadline and with the House under new leadership, Congress passed an interim measure with broad bipartisan majorities earlier this week.

A shutdown threatened to generate widespread political fallout in Washington. The short-term package allows lawmakers to regroup over the Thanksgiving holiday while talks continue on spending and policy agreements.

But the measure sets up bitter ideological fights early next year over federal spending and emergency funding for allies Israel and Ukraine. That battle already brought the U.S. to the brink of a debt default in the spring, caused Fitch Ratings to downgrade the nation’s sovereign credit rating and cost Kevin McCarthy the House speakership.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the chamber would turn to Israel and Ukraine assistance “immediately” when lawmakers return from Thanksgiving.

The White House initially criticized the stopgap measure, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre calling it “a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns.” But Biden came around as Democrats indicated they would not block the proposal in order to avoid an immediate funding lapse.

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