US Congress Leaders Reach Deal on 2024 Spending, Averting Government Shutdown

Washington D.C. – US Congress leaders have reached a deal on the total amount of spending for the remainder of 2024 in an effort to avoid a partial government shutdown. The agreement encompasses a figure of $1.6tn, with $886bn allocated for defense and over $704bn for non-defense spending, according to Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson.

However, there seems to be some discrepancy regarding the numbers. The deal still requires approval from both the House of Representatives and Senate. With less than two weeks remaining to finalize funding, lawmakers face the urgent task of preventing the suspension of federal services.

While Democrats Hakeem Jeffries and Chuck Schumer have stated that the agreed non-defense spending amount is $772bn, Mr. Johnson acknowledged in a letter to his colleagues that the funding “will not satisfy everyone” and “do not cut as much spending as many of us would like.”

The proposed plan includes an acceleration of a previously agreed upon $20bn cut to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which will now occur this year instead of being spread over the next two years. In addition, $6.1bn in unused Covid funds will be returned.

Republicans have been advocating for an overall freeze on government spending by implementing budget cuts in various areas. However, the deal includes increased protection from cuts to benefits and health, a provision demanded by Democrats.

Despite the agreement, the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative Republican group within Congress, expressed disappointment, referring to the deal as a “total failure.” Meanwhile, President Biden views the agreement as a step closer to avoiding a government shutdown and protecting national priorities.

Negotiations are set to resume in Washington on Monday, with lawmakers having until January 19 to finalize funding for programs such as transportation, housing, and energy. Another round of annual funding, including defense sectors, expires on February 2.

This agreement on overall spending comes after a short-term deal in October temporarily prevented a federal shutdown. Shutdowns typically occur when Congress fails to agree on the crucial 30% of federal spending that needs approval before the start of each fiscal year.

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