Congress failed to meet a midnight funding deadline.

Senate strikes deal to avoid partial government shutdown

WASHINGTON- the US government shutdown preparations after the Senate negotiated a last-minute agreement.


According to a White House official, President Joe Biden is anticipated to sign the bill on Saturday, subject to Senate approval, and the White House Office of Management and Budget has stopped preparing for the shutdown.


The Senate exceeded the midnight deadline to prevent a partial shutdown by voting on a bill to keep a number of departments and agencies operating late on Friday night and into Saturday morning.


Nonetheless, Senate leaders have stated they have an agreement to vote on a number of modifications and the bill’s final passage, so the shutdown is only likely to last a short while and have minimal effect.


After that, it would be sent to President Joe Biden, who has promised to sign it into law.


“There is a high degree of confidence that Congress will imminently pass the relevant appropriations and the President will sign the bill on Saturday,” a White House official stated, explaining why the budget office has stopped preparing for a shutdown.


“Agencies may continue their regular operations and will not close down due to the daily tracking and invoicing of federal fund obligations.”


The entire government will be financed through the end of September once Biden signs the deal into law.


The $1.2 trillion budget package, which funds the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, State, Labor, and Health and Human Services, among others, was approved by the House on a Friday morning vote.


After a procedural vote on Friday that advanced the bill 78–18, the Senate signaled that it had enough support to pass the legislation.


Just prior reaching the deadline, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, stated that both parties had reached an understanding to vote on several modifications until the bill is finally passed early on Saturday morning.


House pass the $1.2 trillion spending bill:


Finally before midnight, Senator Chuck Schumer declared on the Senate floor, “It’s been a very long and difficult day, but we have just reached an agreement to complete the job of funding the government.” “It is good for the country that we have reached this bipartisan deal.”


government shutdown
House approves $1.2 trillion

This session, the divided Congress has narrowly avoided several shutdowns by approving four stopgap legislation that continuously extended the deadline. Furthermore, it is abnormally late in the game to be wrangling over the financial measures at this point in the fiscal year—nearly six months into it.


With little time for the Senate to act, the most recent version was unveiled on Thursday and approved by the House early on Friday morning.


For a moment, the negotiations looked to be coming to an end midday on Friday. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said that vulnerable Democrats in important Senate races had ruined the deal by forcing them to vote on amendments that might be used against them in their re-election campaigns.


“Jon Tester has stated that he would prefer that the government shut down and vote on Sunday night rather than vote on these amendments for you,” Cotton told reporters, adding without offering any supporting data.


“The bottom line is Democratic senators running for re-election are scared to vote on amendments.”


However, Tester, a Democrat running for re-election in a close contest in Montana, a red state that might decide the Senate majority, shot back, telling reporters, “That’s bulls—.”


When the two senators were speaking to separate sets of reporters off the Senate floor, only a few feet apart, and the back and forth reached a boiling point.


“Did Cotton mention that Jon Tester is the reason they’re delaying amendments?” During the exchange, Cotton was screamed at by Tester. “Because if he did, he might be carrying something that protrudes from a cow’s back.”


The fact that Congress managed to prevent budget shortfalls on multiple occasions this fiscal year alone, but found it difficult to do so on the last one, infuriated senators.


Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, expressed her distaste for the meal in an interview, saying that it made her feel “like I’ve had too much sugar and bad pizza.” Senate Republicans had been served the same food for lunch.


“We would have been thinking because it’s like we have all those fine omega 3s if we had had salmon,” she remarked. “We’re just like, like, like teenage boys, like we’re a mess of a candy pizza muddle.”


Government shutdown the spending deal:


Since October, lawmakers have frequently depended on short-term funding extensions to keep the federal government running since they have been unable to pass the twelve yearly appropriations bills that support it.


Government shutdown
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson makes his way to the House floor on Friday, March 22, 2024.

This month, they were able to ultimately break the impasse by dividing the measures into two bundles.


But disagreements over funds for the Department of Homeland Security caused the second package’s implementation to be postponed until early Thursday.


In order to get legislation over the finish line and send it to the Senate, Johnson thereby suspended a self-imposed 72-hour norm, which allows lawmakers to read legislation before a vote.


This allowed the upper house to consider the legislation only hours before midnight.


Both Democrats and Republicans celebrated their wins in the package.


Democrats bragged about financing for medical research, mental health services, child care and education initiatives, and an extension of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), an effort that has been credited with saving 25 million lives globally.


Republicans emphasized funding for Border Patrol agents and more jail capacity, along with a prohibition on financing the primary humanitarian organization in Gaza, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, through March 2025.


There are other conservative policy victories in the package. It retains a clause prohibiting the use of federal funds to pay for abortion services, prohibits the federal government from outlawing gas stoves, and places limitations on the flags that may be flown over American diplomatic buildings.


Conservatives criticized the law, calling it a failure, but Johnson defended it, saying it “represents the best achievable outcome in a divided government.”


The adoption of the bill, according to Tennessee Republican Rep. Andy Ogles, jeopardizes the GOP majority.


“Some will say that the Republicans are in the majority in the House, but it’s clear that the Democrats own the speaker’s gavel,” Ogles said, adding that its passage “will likely determine who controls the House of Representatives, and this bill will most certainly determine who the next speaker is.”


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