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US Senate Approves $467.5bn Spending Package To Avert Partial Government Shutdown

The package will fund agriculture, transportation, energy, housing, among others.

In a narrow vote of 75-22, the U.S. Senate managed to avert a partial government shutdown by approving a $467.5 billion spending package just hours before the expiration of current funding.

The package will fund various government agencies, including agriculture, transportation, housing, energy, and veterans’ programs, through the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

The package has already been passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and now awaits President Joe Biden’s signature.

The spending bill addresses the imminent expiration of funding for critical programs, with the vote bringing an end to a prolonged and contentious battle over government spending. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer emphasized the bipartisan nature of the package, highlighting that it counters the notion that divided government leads to inaction.

While the spending package sailed through the House earlier in the week, its progress in the Senate faced delays as some conservative Republicans sought votes on immigration and other issues, all of which ultimately failed. The approved package is expected to be signed into law by President Biden.

However, the Senate’s work on government funding is far from over, as negotiations continue on a more extensive spending bill covering military, homeland security, healthcare, and other essential services. Funding for these programs is set to expire on March 22, requiring further congressional action.

The combined cost of the two spending packages is $1.66 trillion, with some far-right Republicans advocating for deeper spending cuts to address the $34.5 trillion national debt. The unusual chaos in this year’s budget debate led to multiple temporary funding bills to keep government operations running at previous year levels.

Notably, the spending bills include $241.3 million in earmarks, local projects secured by individual lawmakers, as requested by the late Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who passed away on September 29, 2023, just before the start of the fiscal year.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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