WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Bipartisan negotiators in the U.S. Congress have reached agreement on the spending levels in the 12 bills that legislators would need to pass to avert a government shutdown beginning in early March, Republican lawmakers said on Monday.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
The agreement is the necessary next step after Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed earlier in the year on a $1.59 trillion discretionary spending level for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.
Congress will eventually have to pass the 12 bills to fund the government and avert a partial shutdown of federal agencies that would otherwise begin on March 1.
“We’re on it. We’re going to continue to focus on that until we get them done,” said Republican Representative Dave Joyce, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.
“We don’t have a lot of time. And there’s going to be a lot of really, really contentious issues,” said Republican Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.
Congress earlier this month passed a third stopgap funding bill to keep the federal government open through a pair of deadlines on March 1 and March 8.
The United States’ $34.4 trillion national debt is rapidly escalating and has prompted worries in part because of the heavy interest payments now being borne by the Treasury Department.
(Reporting by David Morgan in WashingtonEditing by Scott Malone and Matthew Lewis)
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