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23 Mar, 2024 17:34

US Senate passes budget bill averting government shutdown

More than 70% of the $1.2 trillion funding package will be spent on defense
US Senate passes budget bill averting government shutdown

US lawmakers passed a $1.2 trillion spending bill on Saturday, in a long-overdue action six months into the budget year that has narrowly averted a partial government shutdown.

The Senate approved the measure that will keep the US government funded by a 74-24 vote. The bill has been sent to US President Joe Biden, who has reportedly indicated he would sign it into law.

Senate leaders spent hours on Friday negotiating a number of amendments to it that were ultimately defeated. The delay pushed passage of the legislation beyond the set deadline, midnight on Friday.

More than 70% of the money is set aside for defense spending. The 1,012-page bill provides $886 billion in funding for the US Defense Department, including a boost for American troops.

The bill will also cover the military, homeland security, healthcare, and other services through September 30, after it was passed in the Democrat-led Senate. Funding for these programs was set to expire on March 22.

The measure, however, did not include funding for military aid to Ukraine, Taiwan or Israel, propositions that are included in a different bill, which the Republican-led House of Representatives has ignored.

It took lawmakers six months into the current fiscal year to reach an agreement on government funding. The process has been slowed by conservatives, who pushed for more policy mandates and steeper spending cuts than the Senate had.

They failed to reach a compromise deal, after Republicans demanded that the package include new funds to protect the country’s border with Mexico.

Following months of negotiations, the two major parties were unable to reach an agreement on the massive foreign-aid bill. The legislation would include some $60 billion for Kiev, more than $14 billion for Israel and around $8 billion for US partners in the Indo-Pacific.