Speed Reads

Kick the can

Biden signs short-term budget deal to avoid government shutdown for a week

President Biden on Friday signed a short-term budget deal hammered out by Congress, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown while giving legislators another week to negotiate a full spending package

Biden's signature came just one day after the Senate voted to advance the continuing resolution, which would keep government spending levels unchanged for an additional week. The House passed its continuing resolution the previous day by a largely partisan vote of 224 to 201. The short-term deal expires at midnight, Dec. 23, at which point Congress must act again to avert a full government shutdown. 

"Negotiations keep trending in the right direction," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said ahead of the Senate's vote.  "But," he cautioned, "we still have a lot of work left to do and not enough time to do it, unless we extend government funding for another week."

Some congressional Republicans have been working to avoid a total omnibus budget deal for the coming year, in hopes they can delay long enough to assume the House majority in January and thereby secure more leverage for their party in the negotiation process. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, has expressed his willingness to move ahead with a full bill before the new year, explaining, "If a truly bipartisan full-year bill without poison pills is ready for final Senate passage by late next week, I'll support it for our armed forces." 

The final omnibus bill being negotiated currently covers an estimated $1.7 trillion in spending for the fiscal year that began this past October. Speaking shortly after the House voted to pass its version of the just-signed continuing resolution, outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she was "optimistic" the stopgap measure would ensure a final bill will be completed in time. "It's Friday to Friday," Pelosi said. "So appropriators have enough time to finish."