By Jordan Fabian - 09/30/15 08:19 PM EDT
Obama signs funding bill to avert government shutdown
President Obama signed a stopgap spending bill Wednesday to avert a government shutdown, the White House said.
Obama put his signature on the measure, which funds federal agencies through Dec. 11, just hours before a midnight deadline to keep the government open.
“With today’s bipartisan vote, Congress has taken a step away from the brink,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. “But the American people deserve far better than last-minute, short-term legislating.”
The bill is intended to buy more time for Obama, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Boehner's successer to reach a comprehensive, long-term budget pact.
“There is no reason that we should deny American families and businesses the certainty and support they need by kicking the can down the road again,” Earnest said.
Obama and GOP leaders got their wish in avoiding an immediate government shutdown, which conservative lawmakers had threatened in order to strip federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
The stopgap measure sailed through the Senate earlier Wednesday by a vote of 78-20. The House passed the bill, 227-151, with most Republicans voting against it, since it included money for Planned Parenthood.
But more obstacles stand in the way of a comprehensive budget deal this winter. Obama and Democrats are seeking to lift caps on domestic and defense spending put in place by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
While some Republicans have expressed interest in raising Pentagon spending, the party is almost unanimously opposed to boosting funding for domestic programs.
The stopgap measure also provides emergency funds to fight wildfires and reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration.