Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Congress appears poised to prevent a government shutdown for now

By 37ci3 Feb29,2024



WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives is poised to pass a short-term funding bill this weekend to avert a partial government shutdown and buy Congress more time to fund the government.

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., faced criticism from rank-and-file conservatives that they were kept in the dark. bilateral cost agreement announced Wednesday, which includes six of the 12 spending bills that fund federal agencies.

But Johnson, speaking to reporters at a weekly press conference, argued that the bipartisan agreement reached this week allows Congress to fund the government by passing individual bills rather than a massive, all-encompassing spending package known as an omnibus.

“The adoption process is ugly, democracy is ugly. It works every year, it always does. Except when we implement some innovations; we’ve broken omnibus fever,” Johnson said Thursday.

“We are trying to return the aircraft carrier to real budgeting and cost reform,” he said. “That was the important thing – breaking it down into smaller pieces.”

After the short-term bill is cleared by the House, the Senate must pass it before money runs out Friday night to avoid a shutdown. A quick vote would require the support of all 100 senators.

“Once the House acts, I hope the Senate can pass the short-term CR tonight, but it will require all of us working together,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday. “Of course there’s no reason for this to take too long, so let’s work together and get this done quickly.”

The stopgap measure, known as a continuing resolution or CR, is part of a bipartisan deal reached Wednesday by congressional leaders and owners. CR will extend the funding deadline for half of the dozen spending bills that must pass by one week, until March 8.

The funding deadline for the remaining six bills will be pushed back two weeks to March 22. Leaders say that should give Congress enough time to pass all spending legislation for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

The White House approved the bilateral agreement.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the deal “will help avoid an unnecessary shutdown while providing more time to work on bipartisan appropriations bills and pass the bipartisan national security supplement as soon as possible for the House.”

Negotiations on the first six bills – finance departments such as Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Interior, Justice, Transportation and Veterans Affairs – have been completed. The leaders said that these bills will be voted on next week.

Passing the 2024 fiscal bills would allow Congress to quickly begin negotiations on the next round of appropriations bills for the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, Johnson said.

Neither the short-term bill nor the government funding deals include any military aid or assistance to Israel, Taiwan and Ukraine, which Johnson continues to oppose. He did not allow a vote on the financing of Ukraine, saying that foreign aid will be decided separately.



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