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US senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has submitted a stopgap budget measure aimed at postponing the threat of a costly government shutdown for a few more weeks.
Schumer said on Sunday that he would put a continuing resolution on the floor of the upper chamber of Congress this week to extend funding until early March.
Funding is due to expire for several parts of the federal government as soon as this Friday, with other departments set to face a shutdown on February 2.
Top Republican and Democratic leaders have been running out of time to have their $1.66tn spending deal, agreed earlier this month, passed into law ahead of the January 20 deadline.
“The bipartisan, topline funding agreement reached ensures that America will be able to address many of the major challenges our country faces at home and abroad,” said Schumer. “It is clear that a continuing resolution is necessary to give the Appropriations Committee additional time to finish drafting their bills to reflect the new agreement.”
The new measure mirrors the structure of a continuing resolution agreed in mid-November.
That resolution separated federal departments’ funding into two tiers, with funds expiring on January 19 for one set of departments and on February 2 for the other.
Under Schumer’s latest proposal, funding for the first set would expire on March 1, and for the second on March 8.
Passage of the $1.66tn deal is being delayed not only by the drafting process but also by discord among elements of the Republican party, which view the spending as profligate.
Schumer said the decision to table the continuing resolution, set to go to the Senate on Tuesday, followed talks with Mike Johnson, his Republican counterpart in the House of Representatives, along with senior Republican and Democratic officials Mitch McConnell and Hakeem Jeffries respectively, and White House staff.
Along with passing the Senate, the bill also needs to go through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives before going to the White House and being signed into law by President Joe Biden ahead of Friday’s deadline.
It is not yet clear whether Johnson is planning to present the stopgap measure on the floor of the lower chamber.
More hardline Republican lawmakers have repeatedly called for tougher spending cuts than those on offer. They think the latest proposal is little changed from the package agreed between Biden and Johnson’s predecessor Kevin McCarthy.
That package, which averted a government shutdown in the autumn, cost the former House Speaker his job.
Johnson has defended the latest deal, which includes $10bn in cuts to the Internal Revenue Service and claws back $6.1bn in Covid-19 relief funds, as providing “real savings to American taxpayers and real reductions in the federal bureaucracy”.
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