Congressional leaders agree to bipartisan deal to fund government and avert shutdown

Congressional leaders Tuesday reached an agreement on a bipartisan deal that will fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year and avert an election year shutdown.

Scant details were immediately released on the deal, which includes controversial funding for the Department of Homeland Security that encompasses border security.

“House and Senate committees have begun drafting bill text to be prepared for release and consideration by the full House and Senate as soon as possible,” Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed the agreement, saying leaders in both chambers were prepared to “review and consider ASAP.”

The deal includes funding for about half the government through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. A previous compromise funded the rest of the agencies.

Johnson will need the support of most Democratic lawmakers to pass the bill with a two-thirds vote for fast-track authority because a large chunk of his far right-wing GOP caucus objects to any compromise spending package.

If no deal had been reached, parts of the government would have shuttered starting this coming weekend. There could still be a brief partial shutdown if hardliners succeed in delaying rapid passage.

Negotiators clashed over the measure that provides funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for securing and managing U.S. borders, among other things.

Republicans don’t want to do anything to help President Joe Biden keep a lid on the situation at the border because it could help him in the upcoming presidential election against former President Donald Trump.

The stakes for both sides are high as border security emerges as a central issue in the 2024 campaigns and the flow of migrants crossing the southern border far outpaces the capacity of the U.S. immigration system to deal with it. The end result has been a continued flow of migrants bussed to areas such as New York City, which is currently managing an influx of new arrivals.

Most of the opposition is expected to come from Republicans, who have been critical of the overall spending levels as well as the lack of policy mandates sought by some conservatives, such as restricting abortion access, eliminating diversity and inclusion programs and banning gender-affirming care.