Senate Passes Spending Bill To Fund Government For 2024 But Misses Shutdown Deadline

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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The Senate passed a consolidated spending bill to fund the government on Saturday morning but failed to do so before the shutdown deadline.

The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024, a bill to appropriate $1.2 trillion of public funds, was published by the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee at 2:48 a.m. EST on Thursday. While narrowly passed by the House on Friday and the Senate on Saturday morning, the latter was unable to do so before the 11:59 p.m. EST deadline, resulting in a technical government shutdown. (RELATED: House Passes Earmark-Laden, $1.2 Trillion Consolidated Spending Bill Hours Before Shutdown Deadline)

The Senate passed the bill at 2:03 a.m. EST on Saturday, by a vote of 74 yeas to 24 nays. The Office of Management and Budget announced early on Saturday that it “has ceased shutdown preparations because there is a high degree of confidence that Congress will imminently pass the relevant appropriations and the President will sign the bill on Saturday,” though appropriations expired for the government nationwide at 11:59 p.m. EST.

“For the rest of us who didn’t see it until 2:30 a.m. [EST] this morning, and for the 330 million Americans out there who will have to pay for this stuff, that’s not adequate notice, that’s not a carefully negotiated agreement. That is collusion among the few affecting the many adversely. I find this very, very disturbing,” Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said on the Senate floor on Thursday, one of the members opposed to the bill. “It begs the question: what are they hiding?”

At 11:44 p.m. EST, 15 minutes before the shutdown deadline, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke on the floor announcing a deal to pass the bill, with several votes on amendments and motions from opponents, while asking senators to remain in the chamber to complete the process expeditiously.

“I would ask members respectfully but with strength: sit in your chairs, please, so we can get this done,” Schumer said.

The bill was released proximate to the funding deadline due to disagreements over funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which prompted extended negotiations. Funding for the 2024 fiscal year was due to be passed on September 30, 2023, but, owing to disagreements, Congress passed four continuing resolutions to prevent a shutdown, with the latest funding deadline being extended to March 22.

Certain essential government employees, such as U.S. military and federal law enforcement personnel, are required to continue working during shutdowns to ensure “the protection of life and property,” according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Several government departments — of Agriculture, Commerce, Veterans’ Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy and the Interior — have not shut down, having been funded for the fiscal year in a bill passed on March 8.

The bill had to be presented to President Joe Biden for his signature, in accordance with the presentment clause of the U.S. Constitution, to end the partial shutdown. The White House released a statement indicating that Biden had signed the bill into law on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. EST.

“This agreement represents a compromise, which means neither side got everything it wanted. But it rejects extreme cuts from House Republicans and expands access to child care, invests in cancer research, funds mental health and substance use care, advances American leadership abroad, and provides resources to secure the border that my Administration successfully fought to include,” Biden wrote in the White House’s statement. “The House must pass the bipartisan national security supplemental to advance our national security interests. And Congress must pass the bipartisan border security agreement—the toughest and fairest reforms in decades—to ensure we have the policies and funding needed to secure the border. It’s time to get this done.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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