Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

House passes first funding package to avert a partial government shutdown

By 37ci3 Mar7,2024

WASHINGTON — The House easily passed a package of six spending bills on Wednesday, with the Senate voting to pass the bill and block a partial bill. government shutdown by the Friday deadline.

The A 1,050-page bill will keep parts of the government open until September, including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, Justice and Transportation. The package, known as the van, includes six appropriations bills being negotiated between the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Democratic-controlled Senate and championed by President Joe Biden.

Getting through the first tranche of funding is the easy part. House and Senate officials must next discuss a deal on six remaining spending bills before a separate deadline on March 22. These bills fund the Departments of Defense, State, and Homeland Security, among other agencies and programs, and are expected to be more controversial.

The package was passed Wednesday using a fast-track process known as a rules suspension, which requires a higher two-thirds majority. The vote was 339-85.

All 100 senators must agree to a quick vote on the package starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday to avoid a partial shutdown.

Hard-right MPs condemned the package and voted against it, arguing that it would do little to reduce spending, ousting their preferred conservative policy riders.

“That’s wrong. I think the American people don’t want to see us spending more money again, going into more debt. We’re $34.4 trillion in debt… Now we have $1 trillion in interest and we’re undermining the American people to fund more programs. will you spend more money on? asked Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus, which opposes the package.

“I expect the ongoing battle to happen tomorrow, don’t you?” Roy continued. “It’s like … one of these losing sports teams is saying wait until next year, right? “Oh, trust me, pick us in November. We will do it. Next time.” How about we do it now?”

But Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., defended the bipartisan spending deal, saying the political “reality” is divided government in Washington. a small, two-vote GOP majority, “one of the smallest in House history.” Johnson allies noted that it is the first time since 2018 that the government has not been funded through a massive omnibus package.

Johnson said he was eager to begin negotiations on the next round of spending legislation for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

“You can’t turn around an aircraft carrier overnight. So what we’ve done is break the omnibus fever,” Johnson told reporters at his weekly press conference. “We’re very pleased now that we’re finally at the point where we can move beyond that — complete fiscal year 24 and then focus on fiscal year 25.”

In recent months, Roy and other conservative rebels have raised the possibility of forcing a vote to oust Johnson over spending negotiations. But despite deep frustrations, Freedom Caucus members are shrugging off those threats — at least for now.

“I’m not going to involve Johnson in this case. We continue to meet with him,” he said. “But it is irresponsible for a minibus to pass this house. It is irresponsible to spend the dollars they spend.”

The spending package passed Wednesday represents a series of painstaking compromises nearly halfway through the fiscal year after four consecutive bills to extend a number of shutdowns. Both sides emphasized what they saw as major victories.

Republicans announced cuts to the FBI, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; More funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration; actions to strengthen veterans’ gun rights; and restrictions on oil sales to China.

Meanwhile, Democrats hailed the bill as fully funding the WIC program — food assistance for women, infants and children — as well as providing rental assistance, a pay raise for firefighters and investments in new air traffic controllers.

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By 37ci3

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