US House passes deal on eve of Biden speech to avert partial shutdown

US House passes deal on eve of Biden speech to avert partial shutdown
US House passes deal on eve of Biden speech to avert partial shutdown

Hello and welcome to the details of US House passes deal on eve of Biden speech to avert partial shutdown and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - The Republican-led US House of Representatives approved a deal yesterday to avert a partial government shutdown due to start this weekend, moving a long-running row over the federal budget one step closer to resolution. — AFP pic

WASHINGTON, March 7 — The Republican-led US House of Representatives approved a deal yesterday to avert a partial government shutdown due to start this weekend, moving a long-running row over the federal budget one step closer to resolution.

The vote comes on the eve of President Joe Biden’s annual State of the Union address, with the Democrat preparing to deliver a career-defining speech as he bids for a second term against Republican rival Donald .

Biden is expected to use today’s speech at a joint session of Congress to tout his “historic” first-term accomplishments and push lawmakers to pass a stalled Ukraine aid and border reform bill.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson has refused to move on the package, which includes US$60 billion for Ukraine, insisting on the need for more action against illegal border crossings first.

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Five months into the fiscal year, Congress still has not approved the 12 annual spending bills that make up the federal budget, with several departments facing deadlines of midnight on Friday night to keep the lights on.

Wednesday’s House vote to approve a US$460 billion package — thrashed out over months of intense bipartisan negotiations — takes the United States a step closer to keeping the government funded through the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

The bill — funding the departments of agriculture, justice, interior, transportation, housing, veterans affairs, commerce and energy — must still pass the Senate before President Joe Biden can sign it into law and avert a partial shutdown.

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However, the bill covers less than a third of overall discretionary spending, and some of the most contentious battles have been put off for a second bill that needs to get to Biden’s desk by March 22.

That tranche covers the military, border security, Congress, and various other federal departments and agencies.

‘Policy victories’

House Speaker Johnson has struggled for much of his term to control a narrow majority, walking a tightrope between more moderate factions and the demands of Trump’s ultra-conservative allies in the House.

“House Republicans secured key conservative policy victories, rejected left-wing proposals, and imposed sharp cuts to agencies and programs critical to President Biden’s agenda,” Johnson said in a statement ahead of the vote.

Each side touted wins in the funding package, although figures on the Republican right have voiced frustration that the deal contains none of the steep cuts they have demanded.

“Once again, Democrats protected the American people and delivered the overwhelming majority of votes necessary to get things done,” House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a statement shortly after the bill was passed.

The agreement adds US$1 billion for a federal nutrition programme for low-income mothers and their babies, a key Democratic funding priority, and increases rental assistance and boosts spending on veterans.

But there are cuts of between six and 10 per cent for regulatory and law enforcement agencies regularly in Republican crosshairs, including the FBI, Environmental Protection Agency and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. — AFP

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