Kevin Dietsch Getty Images via AFP Hakeem Jeffries (center right), House Democratic Caucus Leader, walks toward the entrance to the Capitol after taking part in a press conference in Washington, December 14, 2023.
France Media Agency in Washington
January 7, 2024
- United States
The US Congress announced on Sunday a bipartisan agreement on the total federal budget for fiscal year 2024, taking a step towards avoiding a paralysis of the US administration in this presidential election year.
The agreement on a federal spending cap of approximately $1.6 trillion was announced by Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson and Democratic congressional leaders after weeks of negotiations.
The decision was quickly applauded by President Joe Biden, who said in a statement that the deal “brings us one step closer to avoiding a “ unnecessary shutdown of government and protection of important national priorities.”
But time is running out for rival parties in Congress to agree on spending details and pass legislation before a January 19 deadline, when some federal agencies will no longer have funding .
The deal would include an increase in Pentagon spending to the tune of $886.3 billion, well over $100 billion above the level of non-defense spending set by Democrats.
“By securing $772.7 billion in non-defense discretionary funding, we can protect critical national priorities such as veterans' benefits, health care and aid nutrition against the draconian cuts desired by right-wing extremists”, highlighted Chuck Schumer, leader of the Senate majority, and Hakeem Jeffries, leader of the Democratic group in the House of Representatives, in a joint press release.
The agreement “clears the way for Congress to act in the coming weeks to maintain important funding priorities for the American people and avoid a “shutdown” of the government,” they emphasized.
In his statement, Mr. Biden noted that the agreement “rejects deep cuts to programs that hard-working families rely on, and paves the way for passage of relief bills funding for the entire year that meets the needs of the American people and is free from extreme politics.”
But it risks irritating the most right wing of Mr. Johnson's Republican group in the House of Representatives, many of whom have insisted on the need for fiscal belt-tightening.