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Nearly Six Months Into Fiscal Year, Congress Approves a Spending Bill

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Key Takeaways

  • Congress passed a spending package early Saturday morning that will keep the federal government funded through Sept. 30.
  • The bill was passed after the midnight shutdown deadline but had no effects on operations.
  • The path to passing this bill included four stopgap measures before completing full government funding over nearly six months.
  • Appropriations bills that make up federal spending are supposed to be passed by the beginning of the fiscal year in October under law, but that rarely happens.
Despite missing their midnight deadline, Congress has approved a spending package that keeps the federal government fully funded through Sept. 30.

The Senate voted 74-24 to pass the bill around 1 a.m. Eastern Time and President Joe Biden has said he will sign it when it comes to his desk. The House of Representatives had passed the spending package around midday Friday. By passing this bill, Congress avoided a government shutdown, which would have likely damaged the U.S. economy.

Congress passed four stopgap measures before fully funding the government, and this bill passed six months after the start of the fiscal year. It funds 70% of the government including Defense, Homeland Security, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, State departments. The rest of the funding was approved in early March.

Working against a shutdown deadline has become the norm for Congress members in recent years.

While appropriations bills that make up federal budgets are supposed to be passed by the beginning of the fiscal year in October under law, that rarely happens. The last time the budget was passed on time was 27 years ago and has only happened four times total since 1977, according to Pew Research Center.

This also isn't the latest a federal budget has been passed. In 2017, appropriation bills weren't passed in full until May.
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  2. Pew Research Center. "."
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