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Congress Passes Stopgap Spending Measure, Lights On Through December

October 1, 2021 by Dan McCue
The U.S Capitol is visible after sunset in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. With only hours to spare, Congress passed legislation that would avoid a partial federal shutdown and keep the government funded through Dec. 3, and sent the bill to President Joe Biden.. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — Congress on Thursday voted to extend funding of the government through early December, avoiding an imminent  government shutdown, and providing emergency relief for Afghan refugees and states that have been hard hit by natural disasters this year.

The bill passed the House 254 to 175; while earlier, in the Senate, it passed 65-35, with 15 Republicans joining all of the Democrats in the chamber in supporting it.

President Joe Biden signed the bill into law early Thursday evening.

“It meets critical and urgent needs of the nation, including disaster relief for both red and blue states hit hard by Hurricane Ida and other devastating natural disasters, and funding to help us resettle Afghan allies in the United States following the end of the 20-year war in Afghanistan,” the president said as he put pen to paper. “This funding will also keep up our fight against COVID-19 and—on this International Recovery Day—it will continue our battle against the opioid crisis.

“There’s so much more to do. But the passage of this bill reminds us that bipartisan work is possible and it gives us time to pass longer-term funding to keep our government running and delivering for the American people,” Biden said.

The funding measure will provide $6.3 billion to assist in the resettlement of Afghan refugees in the United States and $28.6 billion to help communities along the Gulf and West coasts rebuild after a series of massive wildfires and powerful coastal storms.

Speaking on the floor of the Senate before the vote, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer described the burgeoning support for keeping the lights on, “a good outcome.”

The Republican lawmakers came onboard after the Democrats agreed to remove a provision of the bill that would have suspended the nation’s debt limit through the end of 2022.

Senate Republicans had blocked an earlier version of the bill on Monday because it contained that provision.

The continuing resolution will keep the government funded through Dec. 3, providing members of the House and Senate additional time to hammer out their differences over the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill and the bipartisan infrastructure plan.

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