Congressional leaders strike short-term deal to avoid government shutdown

 Congressional lawmakers reached a short-term deal this week to avoid a government shutdown, while putting several appropriations bills on the road to being decided later.

The deal announced Wednesday will fund six bills under the departments of Agriculture, Justice, Commerce, Energy, Interior, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development through March 8.

"We agree that Congress must work in a bipartisan way to fund our government," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. , House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La. , and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The first round of bills will be voted on as a package. The remaining six bills will be extended till March 22.

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"To give the House and Senate Appropriations Committees enough time in principle to work out a deal, including drafting, formulating report language, scoring and other technical matters, and allowing members 72 hours for review." Giving is a short-term continuing proposal to fund agencies that would be required by March 8 and 22, and will be voted on by the House and Senate this week," the lawmakers said.

Under the terms of the agreement, the House is expected to vote Thursday and the Senate soon after. If passed, the deal would prevent a partial government shutdown that was set to take effect on Friday.

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"We will stop the shutdown. We are working on it," Johnson told Fox News on Tuesday.

President Biden is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union address on March 7, a day before the deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

A government shutdown could mean government offices suddenly closing and many federal employees furloughed — if it continues beyond the weekend.

Johnson said, "We have been working in good faith every day, for months and weeks and for the last several days, virtually around the clock, to get that done. We are very optimistic." White House meeting on Tuesday.

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