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Updated Feb 27, 2024, 9:21pm EST
politicsNorth America

Lawmakers draw close to a partial government funding deal

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The News

Congressional leaders are closing in on a deal to fund the federal agencies currently set to shut down on March 2, a senior Republican House leadership aide told Semafor.

The agreement would cover the Food and Drug Administration as well as the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and Veterans Affairs, among other agencies, keeping them open through the end of the fiscal year.

The aide described the talks as “very fluid,” adding that there could be an agreement on more than just the departments funded through four of the appropriations bills slated to expire Friday. But pushing a deal over the finish line would likely require a short continuing resolution or a brief weekend shutdown.

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There are still a handful of contentious policy issues under negotiations. Democrats have pushed for an additional $700 million in funding for WIC, the nutrition program for women and infants, to help handle rising enrollment and inflation. Republicans have asked in return for a pilot program that would limit the kinds of groceries Americans can purchase with food stamp benefits.

Also being debated is a gun rights amendment introduced by Sens. John Kennedy, R-La. and Jerry Moran, R-Kan. that would limit the VA from reporting certain veterans to the national background check system. The amendment passed with bipartisan support thanks to a small group of Democrats, including Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont. and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., who are both up for reelection in November. But most Democrats see it as a reversal of small gains they’ve made on passing gun safety laws.

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