1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

US Congress passes bill to avoid government shutdown

March 1, 2024

The short-term bill will allow funding of federal agencies in the US beyond the weekend the deadline.

US Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has frequently clashed with Democrat-run Senate and White HouseImage: Liu Jie/Xinhua/picture alliance

US Congress on Thursday evening approved a short-term stopgap bill to avoid a partial government shutdown, allowing funding to continue for key federal agencies.

The bill was passed 36 hours before a deadline that would have brought government spending to a halt.

The House of Representatives, led by Republicans, and the Senate, led by Democrats, passed a "continuing resolution" to extend the deadline for the annual budget beyond its Friday deadline.

'Short-term fix'

It has been 5 months since the start of the fiscal year but Congress has yet to reach an agreement on the budget.

Without an extension, the government would have partially shut down leaving defense, border security, Congress and many other government agencies unable to operate.

Congress will now have until March 8 to pass half of the 12 bills that make up the federal budget, and until March 22 for the remaining six.

Republicans question US aid for Ukraine

In the Republican-led House, 207 Democrats and 113 Republicans voted in favor of the stopgap bill.

Joe Biden supported the passage of the bill and in a statement said it was good news for Americans because it avoids a damaging shutdown, but added, "This is a short-term fix, not a long-term solution."

Both parties struggle in split Congress

Two months ago, a $1.59 trillion discretionary budget was agreed upon under the leadership of Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

This time again, he relied on Democrats to provide support for the stopgap bill which is going to irk the right wing of his party which had supported his candidacy for the role of speaker.

The fact that 97 out of his 219 Republican members voted against the bill on Thursday could cause him problems as he is to take up six spending bills next week and move to the sore subject of Ukraine aid that has kept the Republicans divided.

Johnson is in a tricky spot as he is trying to get onboard a majority while juggling between the demands of both the right hardliners and the moderates in his party.

The hardline Republicans have pressured Johnson to leverage a shutdown to force the Democrats to agree on conservative policy measures like curbing the entry of migrants from Mexico.

However, the moderates see a government shutdown as a political fiasco.

US Congress still deadlocked over funding for Ukraine

mfi/ab (AFP, Reuters)