Congress to vote on Schumer-Johnson deal to avert government shutdown

Key Congressional leaders will vote this week on a funding agreement to extend government spending into March.

US House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have agreed on a topline funding agreement — called a Continuing Resolution (CR) — to extend funding to 1 March and 8 March, avoiding the first funding deadline of 19 January.

Congressional officials released the full text of the resolution on Sunday evening.

“Last week, House Republicans achieved an improved topline agreement that will finally allow the House and Senate to complete the annual appropriations bills,” Mr Johnson said in a statement.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries were also involved in discussions on the CR, Mr Schumer said in a statement. The Senate will begin to move the legislation through their chamber on Tuesday, he added.

“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,” Mr Schumer said.

If passed by both chambers of Congress, this would mark the third Continuing Resolution since 2023 funding expired in September. The agreement sets a topline spending number of $1.59 trillion for the fiscal year and $69bn in “budget adjustments.”

Much of the battle surrounding 2024 government spending has been about immigration, with some House Republicans demanding that Congressional Democrats agree to tougher border policies.

Mr Biden and Mr Johnson spoke on the phone on 10 January regarding border security, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus have also pushed back on this latest deal, even after supporting the topline spending number last month, The Independent previously reported.

“We’re making a statement that what the deal, as has been announced, that doesn’t secure the border and that doesn’t cut our spending, and that’s gonna be passed apparently under suspension of the rules with predominantly Democrat votes is unacceptable,” Representative Bob Good, the Freedom Caucus’s new chairman, told reporters last week.

Several Congressional Republicans pushed back against the Freedom Caucus’s reaction.

“If Republicans want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the election this year, fail to fund the government,” Republican Senator Thom Tillis said, per Punchbowl News.

Representative Garret Graves also said he’s sticking with Republican leadership.

“You’ve got a number of people that have no legislative track record, no legislative wins, that are out there trying to dictate strategies that have repeatedly resulted in less conservative outcomes,” he previously told The Independent. “I think that if then a better path forward is actually following game plans and strategies that have resulted in wins that have resulted in conservative wins.