House approves $1.2 trillion package of spending bills before shutdown deadline, Senate up next

Mar22,2024



Washington: House approves $1.2 trillion package expense bill a few hours ago on friday Grant A nearly six-month-long crackdown is about to end for some key federal agencies budget year that will suppress any threat government shutdown Till autumn.
The bill passed by a vote of 286-134 and now moves forward management committee, where the leadership expects a final vote on Friday. More than 70% of the money will go to defence.
Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., brought the bill under a streamlined process that requires two-thirds support for approval.
Lawmakers could still miss the midnight deadline for funding the government because action in the Senate could take time. But the practical impact will be minimal in the near term. With most federal employees off duty over the weekend and many government services funded through earlier legislation, the shutdown will pass mostly without incident unless matters drag on into Monday.
Johnson splits this fiscal year's spending bill into two parts as House republican Rebels rebelled against what has become an annual tradition of being asked to vote for a huge, complex bill with little time to review it or face a shutdown. Johnson saw it as a success. Still, most of the opposition Friday came from Republicans, who viewed the bill as falling too far short of their policy priorities and spending too much.
R-Mo. “The main thing is that this is a complete and total dedication,” said Representative Eric Burlison, who described himself as “completely deadlocked on this bill.”
Opponents particularly took issue with fellow Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the actions of House GOP leadership. Representative Andy Ogles, R-Tennessee, even went so far as to say that “it's clear the Democrats have the right to hold the speakership.”
“We told people we were going to have a smaller government, and we told people we were going to secure the border,” said Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio. “It's a sad day.”
It took lawmakers six months to get closer to the finish line in the current fiscal year, a process slowed by conservatives who pushed for a greater policy mandate and more spending cuts than could be considered by the Democratic-led Senate or the White House. Insisted. The impasse required several short-term, stopgap spending bills to keep agencies funded as negotiations continued.
“It is ironic that the group that has pushed the deal the hardest over the past year continues to oppose the deal,” Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said during debate on the bill. “Legislative action is about compromise.”
The first package of full-year spending bills, which funded the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture and Interior, as well as other departments, was approved by Congress two weeks ago, just hours before funding for those agencies was set to expire. Went. Now, lawmakers are considering a second package under the same scenario.
The 1,012-page bill also funds the Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Labor and others.
Non-defense spending will be relatively flat from last year, although some, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, are being affected, and many agencies do not see their budgets in line with inflation.
Combining both packages, discretionary spending for the budget year would total about $1.66 trillion. It does not include programs like Social Security and Medicare or financing the country's growing debt.
House Republicans were able to secure a provision that blocks funding until March 2025 for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the main supplier of food, water and shelter for civilians in Gaza.
Republicans are pushing to cut funding to the agency after Israel alleged that a dozen of the agency's employees were involved in an October 7 attack carried out by Hamas in Israel.
But the prohibition worries some lawmakers because many relief agencies say there is no way for the United States and others to replace its ability to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, where one-quarter of the 2.3 million residents are starving. Are dying.
Representative Rosa DeLauro, the lead Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said the provision caused some problems for Democratic members, but she also noted that Democrats were able to get more humanitarian aid overall. This would increase by approximately $336 million from last year's level.
To win support from Republicans, Johnson has also announced some spending increases to secure about 8,000 more detention beds for immigrants awaiting trial or deportation from the country. This is an increase of approximately 24% from the current level. Additionally, GOP leadership highlighted more funding to hire approximately 2,000 Border Patrol agents.
Meanwhile, Democrats are touting a $1 billion increase for Head Start programs and new child care centers for military families. He also increased funding for cancer research by $120 million and increased funding for Alzheimer's research by $100 million.
“We have defeated extraordinary cuts that would have been devastating to American families and our economy,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
Spending in the bill largely tracked with an agreement that then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., struck with the White House through May 2023, which restricted spending for two years and ending the debt in January 2025. The cap was suspended so the federal government could continue paying its bills.
Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told lawmakers Thursday that last year's compromise, which became the Fiscal Responsibility Act, will save the federal government about $1 trillion over the coming decade.
Members of both parties expressed disappointment at how long the process took and that the end result was what many had predicted. He repeatedly warned that Republicans would not get the vast majority of the policy mandates they were seeking or cut spending beyond what McCarthy and the White House had agreed to last year.
“People were living in a dream world and thinking, 'Okay, we're going to do something different than the deal McCarthy made with the president,'” said Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb.



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