US House Passes $450 Billion Spending Package to Avoid Shutdown

Credits: Fox News

The US House of Representatives has taken a significant step towards avoiding a government shutdown by approving six spending bills. This move, just days ahead of the deadline, sends the legislation to the Senate for further consideration, as reported by The Hill.

The “minibus” package, which funds various programs and agencies through the end of fiscal 2024, passed the House with a vote of 339-85. A bipartisan majority, including 207 Democrats and 132 Republicans, supported the measure.

The 1,050-page package allocates over $450 billion in funding for departments such as Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Commerce, and Energy.

US House Members (Credits: Newsx)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has indicated that the Senate will vote on the package this week to ensure that relevant departments are funded “with time to spare before Friday’s deadline.”

This successful vote marks the halfway point for the House in the fiscal 2024 appropriations process. However, the more challenging part of the spending fight lies ahead, with the remaining six government funding bills, including those for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services, due on March 22.

Representative Steve Womack, chair of the subcommittee overseeing IRS funding, noted that the upcoming funding bills pose a greater challenge, particularly concerning national security.

House Speaker Mike Johnson’s efforts to move away from traditional omnibus spending measures and towards a laddered approach have been successful so far.

Johnson emphasized the need to avoid a partial shutdown and highlighted key wins in the approved package, including cuts to nondefense funds and funding for fighting fentanyl.

However, some Democrats have expressed frustration with concessions made on GOP-backed provisions, such as one related to veterans’ gun rights. Despite these challenges, negotiators on both sides are working within tight constraints imposed by previous spending caps deals.

The approval of the spending package represents progress towards funding the government and avoiding a shutdown, but significant challenges remain in completing the appropriations process.

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