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Congressional negotiators strike key deal to unlock bipartisan funding work

Congressional negotiators have struck a spending deal unlocking bipartisan negotiations to determine how to fund various government agencies through most of this year.

Sources familiar confirmed to The Hill that the agreement was reached late Friday night, capping off weeks of talks, led by Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Appropriations Chair Kay Granger (R-Texas), over how to divvy up funding for the 12 full-year government funding bills.

Roll Call was first to report the news early Saturday.

Spending cardinals had been hopeful to receive the allocations weeks ago after Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced a deal setting topline number for appropriators to work from to set the allocations.

But appropriators in both chambers say they have been unable to ramp up negotiations to begin conferencing bicameral, bipartisan bills as top negotiators struggled to reach a deal settling the allocations for the 12 subcommittees to craft the individual funding bills.

In recent weeks, cardinals also pointed to funding for the Department of Homeland Security as a sticking point in spending talks keeping top negotiators from striking a deal, particularly as some waited to see what a separate bipartisan border package being worked out in the Senate would include for the agency.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) — head of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriation subcommittee — said earlier this month that he thought top negotiators were “struggling” amid talks, while noting a potential dispute “over Labor-H versus Homeland,” referring to the annual DHS and Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS) funding bills.

“Of course, none of us know whether or not the supplemental will pass and that has money for Homeland and that impacts it,” Cole said at the time.

Congress currently has until Mar. 1 to pass legislation to keep a list of agencies funded and stave off a partial government shutdown.

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