Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The House is set to decide on important bills to fund the government, with lawmakers hurrying to prevent a shutdown

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On Wednesday, the House plans to vote on passing six funding bills to keep the government running. Lawmakers need to do this before the week ends, or the government might shut down. There are two upcoming deadlines on March 8 and March 22, and President Joe Biden is giving a speech to Congress on Thursday, making it even more urgent.

After the House votes, the Senate must also agree for the plan to work. This is a big deal because, after many close calls, Congress is finally close to passing updated laws to fund important government departments.

Both Democrats and Republicans are claiming victories in this plan, which includes money for different departments like Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Veterans Affairs, Energy, Interior, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and others. It also covers military construction and some federal programs.

The plan supports various programs, like hiring new air traffic controllers and rail safety inspectors, taking care of veterans, and investing in science and technology. Democrats say it protects important social safety net programs, like the WIC program for women, infants, and children.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is proud of the plan, saying it fully funds WIC, invests in infrastructure, and supports veterans. He also mentioned that Democrats fought hard to keep money for housing and nutrition programs and prevent harmful changes to women’s health and climate progress.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, said Republicans secured conservative wins, rejected left-wing ideas, and cut spending on agencies critical to President Biden’s plans. He highlighted parts of the plan that stop the Department of Justice from targeting parents’ free speech and protect veterans’ Second Amendment rights.

Since House Republicans only have a small majority, they need Democratic votes for the plan to pass. Some Republicans, like the hardline House Freedom Caucus, are against it, saying it doesn’t address key priorities.

Schumer wants House Republicans to move quickly so the Senate can pass the bills before Friday’s shutdown deadline. He mentioned that Biden’s speech on Thursday will use up time, so everyone needs to work together fast. The Senate’s focus will be on cooperation and speed.

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