- The new law is part of a deal providing an additional $2.65 billion in disaster relief funding
- Without the new plan, there could have been a partial government shutdown
- The new law extends federal funding through November 18
President Barack Obama signed legislation into law early Wednesday that will keep the federal government funded through November 18, the White House said.
The measure, called the "Continuing Resolution Act, 2012," ends the latest threat of a government shutdown.
The new legislation is part of a deal to extend an additional $2.65 billion in disaster relief needed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to replenish coffers depleted partly by the federal response to Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and a series of tornadoes and wildfires.
Democrats and Republicans had been at odds over a GOP demand to cut spending elsewhere in order to offset increased disaster relief funding in the past fiscal year, which ended Friday. FEMA ended that standoff, however, when it indicated it had enough money to get to the end of the fiscal year.
If Congress had failed to reach a new spending agreement, a partial government shutdown would have occurred with the onset of the new fiscal year. Government shutdowns were also threatened during budget talks in the spring and the debt ceiling debate over the summer.
The short-term funding measures were necessary because Congress has failed to complete its full budget appropriations process due to a sharp partisan divide over government spending issues.
The November 18 extension is intended to provide time to debate and pass appropriations bills for the remainder of fiscal year 2012. However, it's been more than 15 years since both chambers of Congress passed the full range of appropriations bills.
Instead, they have relied on other ways to extend spending authority, such as continuing resolutions or omnibus measures that bundle together multiple appropriations bills.