House, Senate Reach Agreement On Spending Bill Framework

Leaders of the two chambers of Congress have a framework in place for a spending deal totaling $1.59 trillion.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the majority leader in the Senate, and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), the speaker of the House, announced the deal on Sunday in what is the first step in averting a federal government shutdown.

The top-line amount for the 2024 fiscal year is the same number that former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) agreed to with President Joe Biden last year when he was still speaker.
The agreement includes $886 billion in defense funding and $704 billion in non-defense funding.

While this agreement is now in place, there is still a lot of work to be done before Congress can breathe a sigh of relief. Now, details for each of the spending bills that make up the omnibus spending plan must be negotiated and written in committees before the full chambers pass them.

This is where some hiccups could arise, as members of the House Freedom Caucus were looking for massive spending cuts that this agreement apparently does not include.

It’s something that Johnson seemed to allude to in a letter he sent House Republicans before the announcement was made.

“Final spending levels will not satisfy everyone, and they do not cut as much spending as many of us would like,” Johnson wrote in his letter.

That being said, Johnson added that coming to the agreement now allows the process to move forward, as negotiators can “reprioritize funding within the topline towards conservative objectives.”

Still, Johnson struck a positive tone for members of the Republican caucus following Sunday’s announcement. He specifically pointed to the elimination of roughly $6 billion in COVID-19 relief funds that were still remaining, as well as a cut of $10 billion to IRS funding.

Even if getting to a final signed deal might be difficult, this agreement does allow the process to start. That’s essential, as the first deadline for government funding is looming on Jan. 19.

Should something not be agreed to and signed by then, a partial government shutdown could happen.