Congress votes to avert government shutdown


Congress on Thursday approved a measure to avert a government shutdown, delaying key deadlines and buying themselves more time to finish a bigger funding agreement.

Facing an end-of-the-week deadline, the House of Representatives passed a bill to temporarily fund one set of federal agencies through March 8 and another set through March 22. It quickly moved to the Senate, which passed it Thursday evening, on a 77-13 vote. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden to be signed into law ahead of a Saturday deadline.

“When we pass this bill, we will have, thank God, avoided a shutdown with all its harmful effects on the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat, said right before the vote.

Without action, a handful of agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, would partially close early Saturday. The remaining agencies, including the Pentagon, would partly shutter after March 8.

In the meantime, Congress will aim to pass packages of legislation to fund the government for the remainder of the budget year.

Investors may not be hurt by a brief shutdown, as stocks
 have risen during previous government closures. But farmers would lose access to loans, initial public offerings could be halted and U.S. troops and other federal employees would go without pay.

Read: How a government shutdown could affect you and your money

Republicans only narrowly control the House, and Speaker Mike Johnson was forced to rely on Democrats to help pass the stopgap spending measure. It cleared the House on a vote of 320-99.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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