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President Biden signs bill to avoid government shutdown

Disaster and COVID-19 relief can continue as normal

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Photo (c) Bill Oxford - Getty Images
Late Thursday, President Joe Biden signed Congress' 11th-hour funding bill to prevent a nationwide government shutdown. The move gives the government access to enough funding to last through the weekend.

Talk about close calls -- government funding was set to expire at midnight. But Democrats, who control both the House and Senate, were adamant that the government would remain open. And, thanks to a sprinkling of bi-partisanship, the bill passed the House and Senate.

Earlier in the week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress that the government needed to deal with the debt ceiling. She said if Congress failed to act and find a way to keep federal funding alive, a monetary default would likely be devastating.

Disaster and COVID-19 relief extended

H.R. 5305, the “Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act,” not only provides fiscal year 2022 appropriations to federal agencies through December 3; it also allows for the continuation and appropriation of certain projects such as disaster relief. 

Through an amendment crafted by Vermont senator Patrick Leahy, the bill keeps the National Flood Insurance Program's ability to sell new policies and renew existing ones afloat by providing $28.6 billion to address natural disasters like Hurricane Ida. Additionally, it provides assistance to support Afghan refugees and America’s Afghan partners.

“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,” Biden said in announcing the bill’s passage “will also keep up our fight against COVID-19 and—on this International Recovery Day—it will continue our battle against the opioid crisis.”

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