Congressional leaders reach agreement on government funding

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

In a letter to colleagues, House Speaker Mike Johnson said that the $1.6 trillion deal includes $886 billion for defense and $704 billion for non-defense spending.

“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 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.

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

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson at the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 12, 2023. / Credit: 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.

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.

But 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, a Louisiana Republican, said last week when asked about a potential shutdown.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, 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.” 

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

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