Congressional Leaders Agree on $1.6 Trillion Federal Budget

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President Joe Biden hailed the agreement reached. According to House Speaker Mike Johnson, on Sunday congressional leaders agreed on a $1.6 trillion national debt limit for next year to prevent a partial shutdown of government agencies later this month. According to Johnson, in a letter sent to lawmakers on Sunday, the proposed budget includes $886 billion for defense and $704 billion for non-defense spending. The defense share was already signed into law by President Joe Biden last month as part of the defense spending bill. According to Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, the agreement will prevent the budget cuts sought by some Republicans from affecting “key domestic priorities, particularly veterans’ benefits, health care and food assistance.” Congress will return to work this week after the recess to debate the national debt limit ahead of the 19 January and 2 February deadlines set by Congress. The discussions are held amid Republican demands to cut spending for fiscal 2024 below the limits agreed to in June. Biden stated Sunday that the agreement brought the country another step closer to “avoiding an unnecessary government shutdown and protecting important national priorities.” “It (the agreement) reflects the funding levels I negotiated with both parties,” Biden said in a statement after the deal’s announcement.