Biden signs stopgap funding bill, avoiding a government shutdown

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Both houses of Congress passed legislation on Thursday to prevent the government’s short-term shutdown.

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US President Joe Biden has signed into law a bill that would fund the government until February 18, the White House said, avoiding the risk of shutting down the law after the law met with opposition from some Republicans over the vaccine mandate.

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one in Statement On Friday, the White House thanked congressional leaders for their work in passing the bill.

Earlier in the day, however, Biden said it was worth praising bipartisanship, adding that “funding the government is not a great achievement – it’s the bare minimum that needs to be done”.

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Both houses of Congress passed legislation on Thursday to avoid the government’s short-term shutdown. This keeps the federal government running for 11 more weeks, usually at current spending levels, while adding $7bn to aid the evacuation of Afghanistan.

“I am glad that in the end, cooler heads prevailed. The government will remain open and I thank the members of this Chamber for walking back from the brink of an avoidable, unnecessary and costly shutdown,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. said.

The Biden administration has enacted policies that require millions of federal workers and federal contractors to be fully vaccinated [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

The votes in the Senate and House of Representatives come amid intensely partisan debate over the coronavirus vaccine mandate – and at a time when officials have raised concerns about the possible spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the country.

The Biden administration sees vaccination as the fastest way to end a pandemic that has killed more than 780,000 people in the US.

On Thursday, Biden unveiled a new plan to stem the resurgence of the virus that would include making vaccines including booster jabs, as well as making at-home coronavirus tests more readily available to Americans.

“Experts say COVID-19 cases will continue to rise in the weeks ahead this winter, so we need to be prepared,” Biden said.

The administration has rolled out vaccine requirements for several groups of workers, but the effort is facing legal setbacks. Courts have rolled back some of the mandates, including a decision this week that bars 10 US states from enforcing a requirement for some healthcare workers.

Previously, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirement affecting employers with 100 or more workers.

The administration has also implemented policies that require millions of federal employees and federal contractors, including military servicemen, to be fully vaccinated. Those efforts are also being challenged.

Some Republicans opposed to Biden’s vaccine rules wanted Congress to take a tough stand against mandatory moratoriums for workers in large businesses, even if it meant closing federal offices over the weekend by refusing to accelerate a final vote on the spending bill. Be.

A poll conducted by The Associated Press shows Americans are divided on Biden’s effort to vaccinate workers, with Democrats overwhelmingly in support of it, while most Republicans are against it.

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