Congressional leaders strike partial budget deal, avert weekend government shutdown

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-L.a., speak to each other during a Capitol Menorah lighting ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12, 2023.

Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images

Top congressional leaders on Capitol Hill struck a partial budget deal to temporarily avert a government shutdown on Wednesday.

Leaders including House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., secured an agreement for six funding bills, four of which were to expire Friday.

Those bills and their corresponding agencies, which included agriculture, veterans affairs and housing, will now remain funded through March 8. The rest of the government’s funding will be extended to March 22.

“We are in agreement that Congress must work in a bipartisan manner to fund our government,” leaders said in a joint statement.

The House is expected to vote on the deal as early as Thursday, with the Senate to follow and Biden to sign after that.

The funding extensions are intended to give Congress “adequate time” to draft language for the agreed-upon bills, give congress members time to review the text and conduct other technical legislative processes, the joint statement said.

Johnson had only agreed to extend those funding deadlines if an agreement on the six bills could be reached, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. Otherwise, the government could have headed into partial shutdown on Saturday.

Government shutdowns do not tend to move markets significantly, though they can stoke perceptions of economic uncertainty.

Congressional leaders had been optimistic about getting the deal settled, especially after a Tuesday White House meeting with President Joe Biden and Congress’ top four leaders, including Johnson.

This is the fourth time this fiscal year that Congress has had to pass a short-term spending bill to keep the government funded and avert a near-miss shutdown.

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