Biden signs stopgap funding bill to keep government open into March

President Biden on Friday signed a stopgap funding bill that will keep the government open into early March and buy lawmakers time to finish the formal appropriations process.

Biden signed the two-step continuing resolution a day after Congress voted to send the legislation to the president’s desk. The bill punts the government funding deadline to March 1 for four appropriations bills, and it extends the deadline for eight others until March 8.

The House voted 314-108 to clear the stopgap measure Thursday, hours after the Senate approved the bill. The legislation is the third short-term spending bill Congress has approved in fiscal 2024.

Passage of the stopgap marks a cleared hurdle for Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who cut a deal with other congressional leaders to avert a shutdown and, subsequently, was able to sell the proposal to enough members in his conference to get it over the finish line.

But the Speaker had to rely heavily on Democratic support after conservatives staked their opposition, criticizing the proposal for a lack of spending cuts and border security policy. Only two Democrats — Reps. Jake Auchincloss (Mass.) and Mike Quigley (Ill.) — voted against the measure.

Johnson brought the legislation to the floor under suspension of the rules, a fast-track process that avoids having to first approve a rule — which conservatives likely would have blocked — but also requires two-thirds support for passage, meaning it must be bipartisan.

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was ousted in October in part for making a similar decision.

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