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Biden signs a $1.2 trillion funding package, averting a partial government shutdown

President Biden walks on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on Friday. On Saturday, he signed into law a bipartisan spending package that averted a partial governmental shutdown.
Bonnie Cash
Bloomberg via Getty Images
President Biden walks on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on Friday. On Saturday, he signed into law a bipartisan spending package that averted a partial governmental shutdown.

Updated March 22, 2024 at 12:11 PM ET

The House of Representatives passed the remaining six appropriations bills for fiscal year 2024 on Friday morning, setting up a tight turnaround for the Senate to vote on the package before a midnight deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown.

The vote could have consequences for House Speaker Mike Johnson. GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia filed a motion to remove him as Speaker, a source familiar with the matter tells NPR.

The $1.2 trillion package includes defense, homeland security, financial services and general government, labor-HHS, the legislative branch, and state-foreign operations. It funds the federal government until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

The bills needed two-thirds support to pass. The final vote was: 286-134.

There were warning signs Thursday night that the vote may be tighter than GOP leadership expected.

Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., who chairs the Labor-HHS subcommittee, said he'd be voting against the package because of earmarks senators on both sides of the aisle inserted into the bill.

"This is not the bill that my subcommittee produced and supported. The Senate has taken liberties with their Congressionally Directed Spending requests that would never stand in the House," he said in a statement.

Republican members also expressed disappointment that the package doesn't go further on strengthening the Southern border and criticized the narrow timeframe between the 1000+ page text'srelease early Thursday morning and the Friday vote.

But Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., who chairs the appropriations subcommittee on defense, urged his colleagues to vote for the package.

"Every member must understand the impact of not passing this package. The only other option will be a full year continuing resolution, which will devastate our national security and put our country at risk," he said ahead of the vote. "A no vote is a vote for China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Hamas."

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., the ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services, and education, said the package represents a compromise.

"This legislation does not have everything either side may have wanted," she said. "But I am satisfied that many of the extreme cuts and the policies proposed by House Republicans were rejected."

She noted her work with other House and Senate Appropriators — Rep. Kay Granger of Texas and Sens. Collins of Maine and Murray of Washington "marks the first time negotiations on government funding have been led on all four corners by women."

What's in the package?

The package has wins for both Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans are touting an increase in the number of ICE detention beds and border agents and cutting funding to NGOs. They're also trumpeting a provision that prevents the Consumer Product Safety Commission from banning gas stoves and another that prevents diplomatic facilities from flying flags that aren't official U.S. flags.

Democrats are praising a $1 billion increase for childcare and early learning programs, including $12 billion for the Head Start program.

Another provision getting a lot of attention is the measure that halts funding for UNWRA, the United Nations Agency that provides aid to Palestinians, until March of 2025. This comes after Israel alleged that a dozen UNWRA staffers took part in Hamas' attack on Israel on October 7.

What this means for Speaker Johnson

Under House rules, it only takes one lawmaker to bring up a vote to oust the speaker. Greene's motion to remove Johnson, months after House Republicans ousted then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, is not privileged, meaning it's unclear if or when it will be brought to the floor for a vote.

Johnson presides over a razor thin, one-vote majority, with Colorado GOP Rep. Ken Buck resigning from the House on Friday.

Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good, R-Va., told reporters ahead of the vote that he blames Johnson for bringing the package to the floor for a vote in the first place. He said he didn't want to talk about personnel issues within GOP leadership, but said he "can't defend the speaker."

Johnson's challenge only deepens next month as the House will debate funding for Ukraine, an issue that divides his conference.

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Barbara Sprunt
Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.
Deirdre Walsh
Deirdre Walsh is a congressional correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk.
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