Leaders in Congress reach agreement on spending levels in key step to avoiding shutdown.
Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on the overall spending levels for the current fiscal year that could help avoid a partial government shutdown later this month.
The agreement largely follows the spending caps for defense and domestic programs that Congress set as part of a bill to suspend the debt limit until 2025, but it also includes some concessions to House Republicans who wanted more spending cuts.
The agreement also provides a path to passing full-year funding bills that are free of any extreme policies and protect important national priorities, according to President Joe Biden.
The agreement is separate from the negotiations that are taking place to secure additional funding for Israel and Ukraine while also curbing restrictions on asylum claims at the U.S. border.
The total spending for this fiscal year (2024) is projected to be about $5.8 trillion, according to the President’s budget proposal. This includes $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending, $3.1 trillion in mandatory spending, and $1.2 trillion in net interest payments.
The main differences between the House and Senate versions of the funding bills are related to the allocation of funds for various programs and agencies, such as defense, homeland security, education, health, and environment.
For example, the House bill provides more funding for border security and less funding for climate change initiatives than the Senate bill. The two chambers will have to reconcile their differences before sending the final bills to the President for approval.
The implications of this agreement for the U.S. economy and national security are complex and uncertain.
On the one hand, the agreement could help boost economic growth and recovery by providing fiscal stimulus and supporting public investment in infrastructure, innovation, and social services.
On the other hand, the agreement could also increase the public debt and deficit, which could pose risks for the long-term fiscal sustainability and credibility of the U.S. government.
Moreover, the agreement could have positive or negative effects on the U.S. strategic interests and alliances, depending on how the funds are used and how the U.S. engages with other countries on global issues such as trade, climate, and security.
The public reaction to this news is mixed and polarized. Some people applaud the agreement as a historic achievement that demonstrates the bipartisan cooperation and leadership of the U.S. government. They praise the agreement for addressing the urgent needs and challenges of the American people and the world in the wake of the pandemic and the climate crisis.
Others criticize the agreement as a reckless and irresponsible deal that wastes taxpayer money and increases the government’s interference and regulation of the economy and society.
They condemn the agreement for ignoring the fiscal discipline and constitutional principles of the U.S. government and for compromising the U.S. sovereignty and competitiveness in the global arena.