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Congressional leaders say they've reached agreement on government funding

Congress faces early 2024 shutdown deadlines
Congress faces 2 shutdown deadlines in coming weeks 05:19

Washington — Congressional leaders announced Sunday they have reached an agreement on the overall spending level for the remainder of 2024 as they seek to avoid a government shutdown later this month. 

The $1.66 trillion deal includes $886 billion for defense and $772.7 billion for non-defense spending, Democratic leaders said. 

The topline is slightly above the $1.59 trillion that was reached in a bipartisan deal last year and includes changes to discretionary spending that was part of a side agreement between President Biden and then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. It cuts $6.1 billion in COVID-19 spending and accelerates cuts to IRS funding. 

"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," House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both New York Democrats, said in a statement Sunday. 

So far, none of the annual appropriations bills that fund the government have made it through the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-led Senate. Instead, Congress in recent months has relied on short-term funding extensions to keep the government operating. 

Menorah Lighting  Dec 12
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson at the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 12, 2023.  Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

It's is now facing two fast-approaching deadlines to prevent another shutdown. Veterans programs, transportation, housing, agriculture and energy departments are funded through Jan. 19, while funding for eight other appropriations bills, including defense, expires Feb. 2. 

"We must avoid a shutdown, but Congress now faces the challenge of having only 12 days to negotiate and write language, secure passage by both chambers, and get the first four appropriations bills signed into law," Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a statement about the deal. 

Disagreements on the topline have impeded negotiations as House Republicans have insisted on spending levels far less than those established under a bipartisan budget deal reached last May. 

House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, said the agreement "will not satisfy everyone" because it doesn't "cut as much spending as many of us would like," but he touted it as the "most favorable budget agreement Republicans have achieved in over a decade." 

Schumer and Jeffries said they have "made clear to Speaker Mike Johnson that Democrats will not support including poison pill policy changes in any of the twelve appropriations bills put before the Congress." 

Johnson and Schumer appeared hopeful in recent days that they could reach a deal soon. 

"We have been working in earnest and in good faith with the Senate and the White House virtually every day through the holiday trying to come to an agreement," Johnson said last week when asked about a potential shutdown.

Schumer said last week that he was hopeful there would be an agreement soon. 

"We've made real good progress," he said of budget negotiations. "I'm hopeful that we can get a budget agreement soon. And I'm hopeful that we could avoid a shutdown, given the progress we've made." 

Nikole Killion and Alan He contributed reporting. 

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