Monday, April 15, 2024

Politicians reveal a bunch of money bills for the government before it might shut down

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Key leaders revealed a final set of six government funding bills on Sunday night, starting a race to pass the legislation before the looming shutdown deadline at the week’s end.

The release of this package, supported by top Democrats and Republicans in both chambers, is a significant breakthrough. For over five months since October 1, 2023, the government has operated under short-term funding extensions, as lawmakers struggled to agree on new bills for various departments. After numerous last-minute stopgap bills, Capitol Hill might finally be close to passing the crucial legislation.

Both sides claimed victories. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated, “It’s good news that Congress has finally reached a bipartisan agreement on the first six government funding bills that will keep the government open. We are proud to be keeping the government open without cuts or poison pill riders.” He emphasized the need for quick action in both the House and Senate to avoid a shutdown.

Democrats highlighted the full funding of nutrition assistance for women and children through WIC, with a $1 billion increase from the previous fiscal year. Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray expressed relief that millions relying on WIC won’t lose access to essential services.

The bills also include investments in hiring air traffic controllers and rail safety inspectors, among other provisions. House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, claimed conservative victories, rejecting left-wing proposals and making cuts to certain agencies while fully funding veterans’ health care.

To allow time for finalizing and passing the bills, Congress approved a short-term funding extension, setting deadlines on March 8 and March 22. Lawmakers aim to pass the package this week, facing time constraints due to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Thursday. The deadline for finalizing and passing the remaining bills to fund the government is March 22. Johnson, facing pressure from conservatives, is navigating the spending fight amid concerns about potential challenges to his speakership, reminiscent of the historic ousting of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy last year.

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