Congress announces a deal to resolve a homeland security dispute and avoid a shutdown

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders and President Joe Biden on Tuesday morning announced a deal to fund the government ahead of a weekend deadline, breaking an impasse over money for the Department of Homeland Security that had held up negotiations.

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., announced the DHS deal in a statement, saying it would allow Congress to finish funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year that ends in September. “House and Senate committees will soon begin drafting bill text for release and consideration by the full House and Senate,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., echoed news of the deal, saying both chambers are now “in the process of closely reviewing the text and reports to Congress for consideration soon.”

They did not immediately release details.

Congress should hurry. Funding for the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, Labor and Health and Human Services and other agencies expires Saturday morning. Five other funding bills were effectively resolved by the end of last week, with the homeland security bill the only one where Republicans and Democrats were unable to resolve deep divisions.

Three sources familiar with the talks told NBC News Monday night that the deal would include a full-year DHS funding bill, but not a freeze as negotiators had previously considered.

US Capital in 2023.Mandel Ngan/AFP – Getty Images File

It will be even harder for Congress to pass the spending package on time. Johnson said he would give lawmakers 72 hours to read the text before a vote. The Senate must receive unanimous approval from all members by 11:59 pm ET on Friday to avoid a partial government shutdown the following day.

See also  EXCLUSIVE: Georgia prosecutors have news that Trump's team is behind voting system hack

“We have come to an agreement with congressional leaders on the path forward for the rest of the full year's funding bills,” Biden said. “The House and Senate can now quickly bring a package to the floor that I will sign immediately.”

Over the weekend, negotiators were poised to release a package that would separately fund DHS on an extended stopgap basis, largely continuing the status quo, before renewing efforts to negotiate a full-year funding bill for the department by the end of September.

A source familiar with the negotiations said the White House and other Democrats want more border security and enforcement money, while Republicans want to realign DHS funds toward the agency's core mission.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., insisted the DHS provision was negotiated between the White House and the GOP.

“House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement in principle on six remaining fiscal year 2024 spending bills, following the conclusion of negotiations between the Biden administration and House Republicans on homeland security appropriations,” he said.

Congress has broken the process of funding the federal government into two, passing the first installment of bills earlier this month. The political importance of immigration, especially among conservatives, has presented Johnson with a minefield.

On Monday afternoon, the two leaders of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, Reps. Bob Goode, R-Va., and Chip Roy, R-Texas, released a letter from 41 Republicans. HR 2, the Secure the Border Act,” or Biden's immigration policies, they said.

“Therefore, we ask you to join us in rejecting a funding package (or anything like it) that directly funds these disastrous policies, and choose to stand against this attack on the American people,” they wrote.

See also  NFL Playoff Film; AFC, NFC standings in Week 17: Buccaneers win

Members of the hard-right are widely expected to vote against the package, and their votes are not necessary to form the bipartisan coalition needed to pass the bill. But those members could create a political headache for Johnson if they get angry enough.

It is highly unusual for Congress to continue negotiating over government funding nearly half a year into a fiscal year. Funding for FY 2025 will be disbursed by the end of September.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *