The law will fund the government by March 11. Final approval was by a bipartisan vote of 65 to 27, five more than the required 60 votes. The House easily passed the law last week. Each party concluded that a shutdown of the election year would be politically damaging, especially during a pandemic and conflict with Russia over a possible invasion of Ukraine.
Both sides expect the short-term measure to be the last necessary as negotiators draft settlement bills that fund the agencies by September 30. Since the administration’s budget year began last October 1, federal agencies have worked to approved spending levels in the final weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency.
The new spending accounts would be a bipartisan agreement, but they would allow Biden and the Democrats who control Congress to put another stamp on spending priorities. They should also provide the defense incentives Republicans want. In recent decades, Congress has routinely completed its budget work by months of delay. Avoiding the party’s score-driven pause has become an achievement, not a given.