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Biden Signs Bill to Avert Govt Shutdown10/01 08:13

   President Joe Biden signed into law Friday a bill that finances the federal 
government through mid-December and provides another infusion of military and 
economic aid to Ukraine after lawmakers acted to avert a partial government 
shutdown set to begin after midnight.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Joe Biden signed into law Friday a bill that 
finances the federal government through mid-December and provides another 
infusion of military and economic aid to Ukraine after lawmakers acted to avert 
a partial government shutdown set to begin after midnight.

   The bill passed the House by a vote of 230-201 earlier in the day. 
Republicans overwhelmingly opposed the measure. Some wanted to extend 
government funding into January when, based on the results of the midterm 
elections, it's possible they'll have more leverage over setting federal 
spending for the full fiscal year. Others argued the measure needed to do more 
to address border security.

   Democrats said passing the bill was important to helping Ukraine as well as 
victims of recent natural disasters in the U.S., including Hurricane Ian, as it 
provides a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster fund with a year's 
worth of money up front rather than for two-and-a-half months.

   "Turn on the news. Look what's happening in Florida right now. Look at what 
happened to Puerto Rico. Look at what's happening in Alaska. I mean, people 
need help," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. "And look at what's happening in 
Ukraine. Do we support helping preserve democracy in Ukraine or not? That's 
what's at stake here."

   But Republicans complained the bill brought to the floor was not subject to 
bipartisan negotiations in the House and didn't reflect their priorities.

   "We know we have a crisis on the southern border. You can turn on the 
television every night. You can look at the fentanyl pouring into the country, 
You can see the tragedy of human trafficking. Is there anything in this bill 
that asks us to do anything different, anything new?" said Rep. Tom Cole, 
R-Okla. "No, you just ask, 'please allow us to continue the current state of 
affairs on the southern border.' That is a travesty."

   In the end, support for the bill was unanimous among Democratic lawmakers. 
Only 10 Republican lawmakers joined them in voting yes.

   Later Friday, former President Donald Trump responded to the bill's passage 
with a racist message on his social media platform attacking Senate Republican 
leader Mitch McConnell and his Asian American wife, who also served in Trump's 
administration as a Cabinet secretary. Trump ominously wrote that McConnell has 
a "death wish."

   The bill finances the federal government through Dec. 16 and buys lawmakers 
more time to agree on legislation setting spending levels for the 2023 fiscal 
year. The bill generally keeps spending at current levels, though it does 
provide more than $12.3 billion in Ukraine-related aid. The money will go to 
provide training, equipment and logistics support for the Ukraine military, 
help Ukraine's government provide basic services to its citizens and replenish 
U.S. weapons systems and munitions.

   "This contribution ensures we continue upholding our moral responsibility to 
support the people of Ukraine in the face of a vicious invasion that continues 
to demand decisive action by us," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the Democratic chair 
of the House Appropriations Committee.

   Disaster assistance was also attached to the stopgap bill, including $2.5 
billion to help New Mexico communities recover from the Hermit's Peak/Calf 
Canyon Fire, the largest wildfire in the state's history; $2 billion for a 
block grant program that aids the economic recovery of communities impacted by 
recent disasters; and $20 million for water and wastewater infrastructure 
improvements previously authorized for Jackson, Mississippi.

   "We cannot leave communities behind that are still picking up the pieces 
from disastrous floods, wildfires and hurricane, and even basic water system 
failures," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

   The bill would provide an additional $1 billion for a program that helps 
low-income households heat their homes. And it would transfer $3 billion from a 
Pentagon aid program to the State Department for continued Afghan resettlement 
operations.

   Lawmakers also included a reauthorization of the Food and Drug 
Administration's user fee agreements for five years, which ensures the agency 
can continue critical product safety reviews and won't need to issue pink slips 
for thousands of employees working on drug and medical device applications.

   One thing missing from the bill is the billions of dollars in additional 
funding that Biden sought to aid the response to COVID-19 and monkeypox. 
Republicans criticized the health spending as unnecessary. The White House said 
the money would have been used to accelerate the research and development of 
vaccines and therapeutics, prepare for future COVID variants and support the 
global response.

 
 
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