US government shutdown: Congressional leaders sign $1.66 trillion funding deal - Hindustan Times
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US government shutdown: Congressional leaders sign $1.66 trillion government funding deal

BySumanti Sen
Jan 08, 2024 10:03 AM IST

Here’s what the $1.66 trillion deal includes – $886 billion for defence and $772.7 billion for non-defense spending

In an attempt to avoid a government shutdown later this month, Congressional leaders have agreed on the overall spending level for the rest of this year, 2024. Here’s what the $1.66 trillion deal includes –  $886 billion for defence and $772.7 billion for non-defense spending.

House Speaker-elect Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., addresses members of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, Oct. 25, 2023 (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)(AP)
House Speaker-elect Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., addresses members of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, Oct. 25, 2023 (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)(AP)

Democratic leaders have said that the topline is a little above the $1.59 trillion that was reached last year in a bipartisan deal. Changes will be made to discretionary spending that was part of a side agreement between President Joe Biden and then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. This accelerates cuts to IRS funding, as well as $6.1 billion in COVID-19 spending.

"The bipartisan topline appropriations agreement clears the way for Congress to act over the next few weeks in order to maintain important funding priorities for the American people and avoid a government shutdown," House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both New York Democrats, said in a statement Sunday, January 7, according to NBC News. 

No annual appropriations bills funding the government has successfully made it through the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-led Senate to date. Only short-term funding extensions were what Congress depended on to operate the government.

Two deadlines will now have to be met to prevent a shutdown. These are what need to be funded through January 19: veterans programs, transportation, housing, agriculture and energy departments. As many as eight other appropriations bills’ funding, including defence, will expire on February 2. 

"We must avoid a shutdown, but Congress now faces the challenge of having only 12 days to negotiate and write language, secure passage by both chambers, and get the first four appropriations bills signed into law," Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a statement about the deal. 

House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, said the agreement "will not satisfy everyone" because it doesn't "cut as much spending as many of us would like.” However, He added that the "most favorable budget agreement Republicans have achieved in over a decade." 

Schumer and Jeffries said they have "made clear to Speaker Mike Johnson that Democrats will not support including poison pill policy changes in any of the twelve appropriations bills put before the Congress." 

Recently, Johnson and Schumer have been hopeful about soon reaching a deal. "We have been working in earnest and in good faith with the Senate and the White House virtually every day through the holiday trying to come to an agreement," Johnson said last week about a possible shutdown. 

Last week, Schumer said he hoped an agreement would soon be reached. "We've made real good progress," he said of budget negotiations. "I'm hopeful that we can get a budget agreement soon. And I'm hopeful that we could avoid a shutdown, given the progress we've made." 

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