Dec. 3 (UPI) — President Joe Biden signed a short-term government funding bill on Friday, avoiding the threat of a federal shutdown.
The House and Senate appropriation committees brokered the deal, although some conservative lawmakers challenged it as a protest against Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal and some private workers.
For a time Thursday, it wasn’t clear if the funding resolution would pass in the Senate, where Democrats have the slimmest of majorities.
While some GOP lawmakers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., wanted a government shutdown to oppose the mandate and other COVID-19 rules, others ushered in a vote on an amendment defunding Biden’s effort. The amendment, however, failed mostly on party lines.
“My phone has blown up and continues to blow up over the vaccine mandate issue,” said Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., one of the senators calling for the vote, according to The Washington Post. “I don’t want to shut the government down.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, argued that Biden’s edicts were unconstitutional — but Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., criticized the GOP effort by saying lawmakers should be using every tool available to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and potentially dangerous variants like Delta and Omicron.
The new funding will keep the government open and authorizes $7 billion to help settle evacuees who were part of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.
Congress and Biden signed the last funding resolution at the end of September to keep the government operating until Friday. The agreement puts the issue off for another two months.