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House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have announced a preliminary agreement on the US government’s spending for the upcoming year, marking a significant stride towards averting a potential government shutdown. However, despite this breakthrough, uncertainties linger as the government faces a looming deadline on January 19, when funding for specific sectors is set to expire.
The leaders emphasized that 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.”
The proposed budget sets an overall spending limit of $1.59 trillion for fiscal year 2024, with $886 billion allocated for the military and $704 billion for nondefense spending. Johnson specified that the plan includes a $16 billion “offset” to reduce nonmilitary expenditures, utilizing unspent Covid funds and IRS money. He acknowledged the deal might not satisfy all parties but stressed it provides a pathway to forward momentum, focusing on conservative objectives and policy riders from the House’s FY24 bills. Meanwhile, senior Democratic aides noted this arrangement accelerates IRS cuts agreed upon in a previous Biden-McCarthy deal.
Conservative figures like Rep. Chip Roy expressed dissatisfaction with the spending levels, and the House Freedom Caucus deemed the deal a “total failure.” President Biden, however, praised the framework as reflective of bipartisan negotiations and urged Congress to act quickly to fund domestic and national security priorities.