Shutdown averted, at least through mid-November.
Late Saturday, at the eleventh hour, President Joe Biden signed off on a temporary funding bill to keep federal agencies operating. This move came after Congress approved a deal that temporarily halted a looming federal shutdown.
The House, with almost all Democrats and most Republicans, approved a funding package, 335-91. The Senate passed it by an 88-9 vote.
“Tonight, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate voted to keep the government open, preventing an unnecessary crisis that would have inflicted needless pain on millions of hardworking Americans,” said President Joe Biden in a statement.
A shutdown would’ve meant millions of federal employees going without pay, including Transportation Security Administration staff and air traffic controllers whose absence could snarl Airport operations, especially at O’Hare and Midway.
Plus, over two million military service members, including those based at Naval Station Great Lakes near Chicago, would have to work without pay.
Those who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food stamps would eventually have their benefits disrupted.
“The American people deserve better,” said House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York.
One Illinois lawmaker added to the chorus of why averting a federal shutdown was necessary.
“Today, I voted with 334 of my House colleagues to keep the government open,” said U.S. Rep. Jonathan L. Jackson of Illinois’ 1st Congressional District.
“This short-term funding bill is far from perfect, but the alternative would have been terrible. Millions of our troops and government employees would have been forced to go without pay. Nearly 7 million women and children would have lost access to food benefits. Additionally, other critical government services, ranging from airport security to loan assistance, would have been hurt.”
But the measure is only temporary, as the bill extends current funding levels until Nov. 17. The threat of another shutdown could emerge in the coming weeks, fueled by a dissatisfied hard-right faction of Republicans who opposed the short-term funding measure and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s reliance on Democrats to pass the bill.
Additionally, the new measure drops funding to Ukraine, which also roiled many Republican lawmakers, but boosts federal disaster assistance by $16 billion, which Biden requested.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois, co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, was the lone Democrat who voted against the package because it discontinued funding to the Eastern European country.
Still, millions of Americans, including those in Illinois, see a reprieve from potentially devastating circumstances.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.