Lawmakers release text of $1.2 trillion spending bill as shutdown deadline nears

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers early Thursday morning released the text of a $1.2 trillion government funding bill negotiated by the White House and leaders of both parties to avoid a partial government shutdown this weekend.

The spending deal, announced Tuesday, includes funding for the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, State, Labor, Health and Human Services and other parts of the government.

Those federal agencies are scheduled to shut down on Saturday if the funding package is not passed by Friday night. President Joe Biden has said he’ll sign the bill, but it’s unclear whether Congress has enough time to pass it before the deadline.

Funding for DHS, which oversees the politically explosive issue of immigration enforcement, was the most contentious part of the negotiation. It dragged out talks for several extra days after the rest of the appropriations bills had been settled.

It is the last remaining funding package that Congress has to pass this fiscal year, which ends after September. That leaves lawmakers just over six months to begin anew for fiscal year 2025.

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., praised the Homeland Security-related spending provisions and about $20 billion in proposed cuts to the Internal Revenue Service in a statement shortly after the release of the legislative text.

The bipartisan agreement “significantly cuts funding to NGOs that incentivize illegal immigration and increases detention capacity and the number of border patrol agents to match levels in the House-passed appropriations bill and the Secure the Border Act (H.R. 2),” Johnson said in a statement. “While these changes are welcome, only a significant reversal in policy by the President to enforce the law can ultimately secure our border.”

“Overall, during the FY24 appropriations process, House Republicans have achieved significant conservative policy wins, rejected extreme Democrat proposals, and imposed substantial cuts to wasteful agencies and programs while strengthening border security and national defense,” Johnson added. 

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., put a modicum of distance between his conference and the deal, saying in a statement Tuesday that the DHS component was a product of “negotiations between the Biden administration and House Republicans,” who control the chamber.

After the House passes the bill, the Senate will require unanimous consent to vote quickly.

“Once the House sends us a funding package, I will put it on the floor of the Senate without delay,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the floor. “We haven’t had a government shutdown since 2019. There’s no good reason for us to have one this week.”

Schumer warned senators that preventing a shutdown will require them not to engage in “unnecessary partisan dithering.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, “Congress has secured a path forward to fund the Department of Homeland Security, which will allow us to complete the fiscal year 2024 appropriations process in the coming days.”

“As always, making headway depends on serious cooperation,” he added.

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