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Lawmakers in the United States Senate have approved a significant spending package just hours before the looming deadline, successfully preventing a partial government shutdown.

This package, valued at $460 billion, garnered approval from the Senate with a vote of 75-22. It encompasses funding for various sectors, including agriculture, transportation, housing, energy, veterans affairs, and other programs, ensuring the government will continue to meet its financial obligations till September 30.

The approval of this package marks a pivotal moment in the journey to finalize the 2024 federal budget, ending months of stalemate within a Congress deeply split by partisan divisions. The bill is now poised for President Joe Biden’s signature to become law. Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer, in anticipation of the bill’s passage, praised it as a “major step” towards achieving a fully funded government. Schumer emphasized the bipartisan nature of the package, highlighting its wide-reaching benefits for parents, veterans, firefighters, farmers, and more, thereby challenging the notion that a divided government is synonymous with legislative paralysis.

This legislative victory follows its earlier passage in the Republican-led House of Representatives, despite delays in the Senate prompted by demands from some conservative Republicans for discussions on immigration, among other issues. However, the task is far from complete as Congress faces the challenge of finalizing a larger set of spending bills covering other sectors, including the military, foreign aid, homeland security, healthcare, and more, with a deadline of March 22 for funding these programs.

The total cost of the enacted package and the pending bills is projected to be $1.66 trillion.


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