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    Congress Passes First Package of Spending Bills Just Hours Before Shutdown Deadline for Key Agencies

    Congress Passes First Package of Spending Bills Just Hours Before Shutdown Deadline for Key Agencies

    (AP) — The Senate on Friday approved a $460 billion package of spending bills in time to meet a midnight deadline for avoiding a shutdown of many key federal agencies, a vote that gets lawmakers about halfway home in wrapping up their appropriations work for the 2024 budget year.

    The measure contains six annual spending bills and has already passed the House. It now goes to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. The White House said he would do so Saturday, and “agencies will not shut down and may continue their normal operations.”

    Meanwhile, lawmakers are negotiating a second package of six bills, including defense, in an effort to have all federal agencies fully funded by a March 22 deadline.

    “To folks who worry that divided government means nothing ever gets done, this bipartisan package says otherwise,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

    He said the bill's passage would allow for the hiring of more traffic controllers and rail safety inspectors, give federal firefighters a raise and boost support for homeless veterans, among other things.

    The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 75-22. The chamber labored to get to a final vote just hours before the midnight deadline for the first set of appropriations bills. Lawmakers sought votes on several amendments and wanted to have their say on the bill and other priorities during debate on the floor. It was unclear midday if senators…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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