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Congressional leaders reach a deal to fund the government, avert a shutdown

Congressional leaders struck an agreement to keep the government funded and avert a shutdown. The deal still needs to get through Congress, where it is likely to face opposition from conservatives.
Stefan Zaklin
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Congressional leaders struck an agreement to keep the government funded and avert a shutdown. The deal still needs to get through Congress, where it is likely to face opposition from conservatives.

Updated January 7, 2024 at 4:24 PM ET

Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on a framework to avert a shutdownand keep the federal government funded until the end of the fiscal year.

The agreement sets topline spending levels at $886 billion for defense spending for the current fiscal year and roughly $773 billion for non-defense spending. The defense figure reflects the deal reached last year by President Biden and former Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Appropriators will still have to finalize the text of the deal and Congress will need to pass the bills before the first government funding deadline on Jan. 19. The agreement is likely to enrage far-right House conservatives, who insisted on deep spending cuts and border restrictions as a price for their vote on a spending bill.

Indeed, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus, criticized the agreementas "terrible" and added that it "gives away the leverage accomplished in the (already not great) caps deal. We'll wait to see if we get meaningful policy riders... but 1) the NDAA was not a good preview, & 2) as usual, we keep spending more money we don't have."

Opposition from far-right Republicans means the legislation will likely need to pass with significant support from Democrats in the Republican-controlled House.

"The framework agreement to proceed will enable the appropriators to address many of the major challenges America faces at home and abroad. It will also allow us to keep the investments for hardworking American families secured by the legislative achievements of President Biden and Congressional Democrats," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said in a joint statement.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., celebrated the deal for securing money for veterans and guaranteeing further cuts to the IRS and COVID relief funds.

Johnson conceded the spending levels "will not satisfy everyone and they do not cut as much spending as many of us would like," but he said the agreement puts Congress on a path to fight for more policy riders and spending cuts going forward.

Biden, in a statement, said the deal "moves us one step closer to preventing a needless government shutdown and protecting important national priorities."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he was "encouraged" by the deal. "America faces serious national security challenges, and Congress must act quickly to deliver the full-year resources this moment requires," he said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Lawmakers will now have to cobble together legislation that passes Congress before money runs out for some key programs Jan. 19. Funding for the rest of government expires Feb. 2.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eric McDaniel edits the NPR Politics Podcast. He joined the program ahead of its 2019 relaunch as a daily podcast.