Congressional leaders reach agreement to avert government shutdown

House Speaker Mike Johnson.

29th February 2024 – (Washington) In a move to prevent a partial government shutdown scheduled for Friday midnight, leaders from the Democratic and Republican parties have reached an agreement, lawmakers confirmed on Wednesday.

The agreement entails financing specific sectors of the government and extending the existing deadlines from early March to 8th March and 22nd March. This extension provides Congress with additional time to develop annual spending bills.

Earlier in January, Congress had passed a stopgap funding bill, ensuring the continued operation of certain government agencies until 1st March, while other agencies were funded until 8th March.

“We are in agreement that Congress must work in a bipartisan manner to fund our government,” stated House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a joint statement.

The statement also outlined the plan to vote on and enact a package of six full-year appropriations bills, covering the departments of agriculture, commerce, energy, interior, justice, transportation, and Veterans Affairs, before 8th March. The final text of these bills is currently being prepared.

Furthermore, the remaining six appropriations bills, encompassing defence, financial services and general government, homeland security, labor-health and human services, legislative branch, and state and foreign operations, will be finalized, voted on, and enacted before 22nd March.

The agreement reached by congressional leaders highlights the importance of bipartisan cooperation in ensuring the smooth functioning of the government. By extending the deadlines and providing more time for deliberation, lawmakers aim to craft comprehensive spending bills that address the needs of various sectors.