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President Joe Biden signs short-term spending bill to avoid partial government shutdown

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Friday signed a short-term spending measure that will keep one set of federal agencies operating through March 8 and another set through March 22 — officially averting a partial government shutdown that began on Sunday would have started.

The measure gives lawmakers a little more time to draft and approve spending measures to keep the federal government operational for the current budget year, which ends September 30. Washington has taken a series of short-term measures as Congress has routinely failed to pass the full year’s spending bills on time.

“This bipartisan agreement prevents a damaging shutdown and gives Congress more time to work on full-year funding bills,” Biden said in a statement Thursday evening after both the House of Representatives and the Senate approved the workaround. “That’s good news for the American people. But I want to be clear: this is a short-term solution, not a long-term solution.”

The House was the first to take action on Thursday. The vote to approve the extension was 320-99. It easily achieved the two-thirds majority needed for passage. Democrats voted overwhelmingly to prevent a partial shutdown. But the vote was much more divided: Republicans were 113 in favor and 97 against. The Senate then took up the bill and passed it in an evening vote of 77-13.

Next week, the House and Senate are expected to take up a package of six spending bills and deliver them to the president by March 8. Then, lawmakers would work to fund the rest of the government by the new March 22 deadline.