Biden Signs Six-Bill Spending Package In Time To Avert Shutdown

Congress at long last agreed to final funding for six of 12 appropriations bills for the president to sign off on. It now faces a March 22 deadline for the remaining bills.

The White House
(Image credit: Getty Images)

President Joe Biden signed off on a final $460 billion funding package on Saturday (March 9) that kept the government from a partial shutdown starting over the weekend.

The legislation covers six of 12 appropriations bills, covering funding through September 30, that have been caught up in a series of short-term-only funding measures since last fall. Congress now faces a second deadline on March 22 to clear the rest of the bills and avert another partial government shutdown.

The Senate passed the funding package by a 75-22 vote on Friday with just hours to go before the shutdown would begin. Earlier in the week, the House voted 339-85 to clear the package.

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"Because both sides cooperated today, we’ve taken a major step towards our goal of fully funding the government," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Friday ahead of the chamber's vote. "Today’s bipartisan agreement gives us momentum and space to finish the remaining appropriations bills by March 22nd.  Of course, it’s going to take both sides working together to keep that momentum alive."

This first six bills provide funding for Agriculture; Commerce, Justice; Energy; Interior; Veterans Affairs; as well as Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

The second batch of six cover Defense; Financial Services; Homeland Security; Labor, Health and Human Services; Legislative Branch; and State and Foreign Operations.

What's at stake

A lot is at stake if Congress fails to pass the appropriations bills, including the prospect that many government operations would be forced to close or run on greatly reduced staff with limits on some public services. A government shutdown could affect you in a number ways from disrupting travel plans to stopping certain outreach programs for veterans among others.

The 12 appropriations bills

  • Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
  • Energy and Water Development
  • Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
  • Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
  • Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
  • Defense
  • Financial Services and General Government
  • Homeland Security
  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
  •  Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies 
  • Legislative Branch
  • State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

Consequences of a shutdown

Here’s what to know about the agencies and services that are at stake in the event of a shutdown:

Passage of the second batch of appropriations bills is expected to be an even tougher challenge for lawmakers than the first six were, due largely to intraparty fighting, particularly among House Republicans.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) continues to face opposition from hard-right Republicans whose demands include deeper spending cuts and a border deal. He, once again, had to rely on Democrats to get two-thirds supermajorities to pass a series of stopgap funding measures that kept a host of federal agencies and programs running while lawmakers tried to hash out their differences.

Some of the same Republicans who helped oust Johnson’s predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, last year after McCarthy relied on Democrats to temporarily avert a shutdown, haven't changed their demands and some are even pushing for a shutdown.

“House Republicans secured key conservative policy victories, rejected left-wing proposals, and imposed sharp cuts to agencies and programs critical to the President Biden’s agenda,” Johnson said in statement ahead of the March 6 vote in the House.


Esther D’Amico
Senior News Editor

Esther D’Amico is Kiplinger’s senior news editor. A long-time antitrust and congressional affairs journalist, Esther has covered a range of beats including infrastructure, climate change and the industrial chemicals sector. She previously served as chief correspondent for a financial news service where she chronicled debates in and out of Congress, the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and the Commerce Department with a particular focus on large mergers and acquisitions. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and in English.