US President Joe Biden signed a temporary spending bill a day before a potential government shutdown, pushing a fight with congressional Republicans over the federal budget into the new year, as wartime aid for Ukraine and Israel remains stalled.
The measure passed the House of Representatives and Senate by wide bipartisan margins this week, ensuring the government remains open until after the holiday season, and potentially giving members of Congress more time to sort out their considerable differences over spending levels for the current budget year.
Mr Biden signed the bill on Thursday in San Francisco, where he was hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation conference, the Associated Press reported.
The spending package keeps government funding at current levels for about two more months while a long-term package is negotiated.
The two-step approach was championed by new House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, and was not favoured by many in the Senate, though all but one Democrat and 10 Republicans supported it because it ensured the government would not shut down for now.
Mr Johnson has vowed that he will not support any further stopgap funding measures, known as continuing resolutions. He portrayed the temporary funding bill as setting the ground for a spending “fight” with the Democratic-majority Senate next year.
The spending bill does not include the White House’s nearly $106 billion request for wartime aid for Israel and Ukraine.
It also does not provide humanitarian funding for Palestinians and other supplemental requests, including money for border security.
The bill includes funding until next September for farm programmes and food assistance, but only a few months of finance for a key nutrition programme for low-income mothers and their young children, Reuters reported.
Passed every five years, the farm bill costs about a half-trillion dollars and funds farm subsidies, crop insurance, nutrition assistance, conservation programmes and more.
The extension means the more than 41 million participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme (Snap) will continue to receive benefits until September 30, however, the Women, Infants and Children (Wic) nutrition programme is funded only until January 19 because it is not included in the farm bill.
Wic provides food, breastfeeding support and other services to 6.7 million low-income mothers and young children, according to the US Department of Agriculture, which administers the programme.
Millions more Americans were food insecure in 2022 than in the previous year, recent government data showed, underscoring prior reports from the Census Bureau and food banks that showed rising hunger since the pandemic.