Congress Prevented a Shutdown, but the Spending Fight Is Far From Over

The stopgap spending bill Congress sent to President Biden late Wednesday prevented the federal government from shutting down as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday. But it is only a temporary reprieve, and lawmakers have considerable work to do before federal agencies again face the threat of running out of money beginning Jan. 19.

The House and the Senate are far behind in advancing their annual spending bills, and House Republicans have encountered deep resistance to some of them from within their own ranks.

Speaker Mike Johnson said this week that he would not push forward any more temporary funding fixes, putting pressure on the House and the Senate to pass their remaining yearlong bills, reconcile them and send them to Mr. Biden. That will prove extraordinarily difficult to do. And Congress still must address a separate request from the president for more than $100 billion in emergency national security aid for wars in Israel and Ukraine.

Here’s what Congress has done — and left undone — to fund the government.

Congress delivered a temporary funding patch through early 2024.

The new stopgap legislation extends existing funding for all federal agencies into early next year but does so in a way different from how Congress historically approved temporary funding.

Under the measure, funding for agriculture, energy, veterans, transportation and housing programs covered by four separate spending bills expires on Jan. 19. Money for remaining programs funded under eight other bills would run out on Feb. 2. Mr. Johnson pushed the staggered deadlines as a way to force Congress to act while avoiding the usual Christmas deadline crunch. Critics — including Democrats who supported it — say the approach will simply lead to a series of rolling shutdown threats.

The House and the Senate have yet to finish their annual spending bills, and a clash is coming.

The Senate has approved just three of its 12 individual spending bills, but all 12 have been approved by the Appropriations Committee in a bipartisan fashion as the panel has worked to have a more orderly and transparent process than in recent years.

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