US political leaders reach tentative deal to avert government shutdown

Democrats and Republicans agree on plan that will be voted on prior to funding deadline that is days away

The House and Senate will now need to vote and approve the agreement ahead of Friday's deadline, when some funding runs out. Reuters
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Democratic and Republican congressional leaders reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday to prevent a US government shutdown, days before an end-of-the-week deadline that risked shuttering some federal operations.

Under the new plan, currently being finalised, Congress will temporarily extend funding for one set of federal agencies until March 8 and for another through March 22, so long as members of both parties agree to a broader funding plan for the remainder of the budget year.

The House and Senate will now need to vote and approve the agreement ahead of Friday's deadline, when some funding runs out.

Both parties' leaders will need to explain the deal to their rank-and-file members with the goal of convincing enough of them to back the arrangement.

The temporary measure will be “voted on by the House and Senate this week”, said the joint statement by House Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and the leaders of the two chambers' appropriations panels.

But there was no immediate plan to approve the $95 billion emergency national security funds for Ukraine, Israel and other allies.

President Joe Biden convened leaders on Tuesday in hopes of pushing them towards a deal.

Congress is in what has become a familiar cycle of threatened shutdowns and disruptions as Mr Johnson's hard-right Republicans in his majority strive for steeper spending reductions than Democrats and even some other Republicans are willing to accept.

What is a US government shutdown?

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Updated: February 28, 2024, 11:18 PM