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Agreeing on spending levels in Congress

Agreeing on spending levels in Congress

(Washington) Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on overall spending levels for the current fiscal year, which could help avoid a partial government shutdown later this month.

The agreement depends largely on spending limits on defense and domestic programs set by Congress as part of a bill to suspend the debt ceiling until 2025. But it grants some concessions to Republicans in the House of Representatives, who considered the spending limits contained in this agreement insufficient.

In a letter to his colleagues, House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday that he would secure an additional $16 billion in spending cuts compared to the previous deal negotiated by then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden, about $30 billion less than what the House had in mind. The elders.

“This represents the best favorable budget deal Republicans have achieved in more than a decade,” Mr. Johnson wrote.

More conservative House Republicans opposed the previous debt ceiling deal and even boycotted the House proceedings for a few days to show their displeasure. To be sure, many wanted additional concessions, but Democrats insisted on sticking to the debt spending cap, leaving Johnson in a difficult position.

Mr. Biden said the deal “brings us one step closer to preventing unnecessary government shutdowns and protecting important national priorities.”

“This reflects the funding levels I negotiated with both parties and signed into law last spring,” Biden said in a statement. “It rejects deep cuts to programs that hard-working families rely on and paves the way for full-year funding bills that meet the expectations of the American people and are Free from extremist politics.”

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The deal accelerates $20 billion in cuts already agreed upon to the IRS, and eliminates about $6 billion in COVID-19 relief funds that had been approved but not yet spent, according to Mr. Johnson.

Lawmakers needed to agree on overall spending levels so officials could draft bills that set line-by-line funding for agencies. Funding is scheduled to end on January 19 for some agencies, and on February 2 for others.

This agreement is separate from ongoing negotiations to secure additional funding for Israel and Ukraine while reducing restrictions on asylum applications at the US border.

In a joint statement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries also expressed their support for the agreement.

“It will also allow us to maintain the investments in hard-working American families secured by the legislative accomplishments of President Biden and Democrats in Congress,” Mr. Schumer and Mr. Jeffries said.

“Finally, we have made clear to House Speaker Mike Johnson that Democrats will not support including amendments to repeal any of the 12 appropriations bills submitted to Congress.”