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Congressional leaders announce spending deal as shutdown threat looms


By Manu Raju and Lauren Fox, and Haley Talbot, CNN

(CNN) — House and Senate leaders on Sunday announced a spending deal for government funding in 2024, the first step to averting a shutdown later this month even as that threat still looms.

The topline numbers agreed to by House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer include $1.59 trillion for fiscal year 2024, with $886 billion for defense spending and $704 in non-defense spending. They also agreed to a $69 billion side deal in adjustments that will go toward non-defense domestic spending.

The side deal brings the non-defense spending figure to nearly $773 billion, a Democratic source told CNN, with spending close to $1.66 trillion overall.

While their agreement on funding levels will reduce the chances of a shutdown, there are still major hurdles facing Congress ahead of two funding deadlines: January 19 and February 2.

One of those hurdles is how to deal with demands by conservatives to use the funding bill as leverage to impose more stringent immigration and border security demands.

Congress will still have to approve funding bills — or a stopgap resolution to avoid a shutdown by the deadlines. And it remains uncertain how that effort will play out even though Schumer and Johnson have a deal on funding levels.

The far-right House Freedom Caucus called the deal negotiated between the House and Senate leaders a “total failure,” presenting a challenge for Johnson, who is leading an extremely narrow majority.

The opposition from the group, which is a loud and strong contingent in the House GOP conference, makes the goal of averting a government shutdown much more of a headache.

Freedom Caucus members have been adamant that spending levels be cut dramatically past what congressional leaders announced Sunday.

Johnson, in a letter to his Republican colleagues Sunday, wrote, “We have secured hard-fought concessions to unlock the FY 24 topline numbers and allow the Appropriations Committee to finally begin negotiating and completing the twelve annual appropriations bills.”

The concessions from Democrats, he said, include “an additional $10 billion in cuts to the IRS mandatory funding (for a total of $20 billion), which was a key part of the Democrats’ ‘Inflation Reduction Act.’ In addition, we will cut $6.1 billion from the Biden’s Administration’s continued COVID-era slush funds, which we achieved despite fierce opposition.”

Schumer, meanwhile, said in a statement with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries that the agreement on non-defense discretionary spending will allow Democrats to “protect key domestic priorities like veterans benefits, health care and nutrition assistance from the draconian cuts sought by right-wing extremists.”

“It will also allow us to keep the investments for hardworking American families secured by the legislative achievements of President Biden and Congressional Democrats,” the pair wrote. “We have made clear to Speaker Mike Johnson that Democrats will not support including poison pill policy changes in any of the twelve appropriations bills put before the Congress.”

President Joe Biden said Sunday, “The bipartisan funding framework congressional leaders have reached moves us one step closer to preventing a needless government shutdown and protecting important national priorities.”

“It reflects the funding levels that I negotiated with both parties and signed into law last spring,” Biden said in a statement.

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Annie Grayer contributed to this report.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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