US Lawmakers unveil slate of government funding bills ahead of shutdown deadline

World 09:49 04.03.2024

Top US lawmakers unveiled a finalized package of six government funding bills Sunday evening, kicking off a race against the clock to pass the measure ahead of a shutdown deadline at the end of the week, Ednews informs via CNN.

The release of the package – which is backed by the top Democrats and Republicans in both chambers – represents a breakthrough for negotiators. The current fiscal year began more than five months ago, on October 1, 2023 – and the federal government has operated under a series of short-term funding extensions since then as lawmakers had struggled to reach consensus on new bills to fund the various departments and agencies.

Both sides of the aisle were quick to claim wins. “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,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

To provide additional time for the bills to be finalized and passed, Congress approved a stopgap measure to extend funding on a short-term basis, setting up deadlines on March 8 and March 22.

Lawmakers plan to pass the package of six funding bills through both chambers this week. Adding to the challenge, there’s only a short window of time to pass the legislation. The House and Senate are both set to return on Tuesday, and President Joe Biden will deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress Thursday evening.

After that, lawmakers will have until March 22 to finalize and pass the remaining bills to fund the rest of the government.

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