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$1.2T funding bill includes IRS cuts, boost for child care in race to avoid shutdown

Congress was racing Thursday to pass a $1.2 trillion government funding bill as details of the package were revealed. The bill must be passed by Congress by the weekend to avoid a government shutdown. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

1 of 2 | Congress was racing Thursday to pass a $1.2 trillion government funding bill as details of the package were revealed. The bill must be passed by Congress by the weekend to avoid a government shutdown. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

March 21 (UPI) — Congressional leaders early Thursday unveiled the text of a $1.2 trillion government funding deal to prevent a government shutdown this weekend.

The bill covers half of the 12 yearly government funding bills, providing funding for the departments of Defense and Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security, in addition to general government and foreign operations.

The funding package includes $824.3 billion for the Department of Defense, $19.6 billion for Customs and Border operations and $90 billion for Homeland Security.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said in a statement Republicans got some big policy wins, including $20 billion in proposed cuts to the IRS.

“Overall, during the FY24 appropriations process, House Republicans have achieved significant conservative policy wins, rejected extreme Democrat proposals and imposed substantial cuts to wasteful agencies and programs while strengthening border security and national defense,” he said.

Republicans also welcomed funds that increased Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention capacity and funding for 22,000 Border Patrol agents.

Democrats were able to get a $1 billion increase in child care and Head Start funding, as well as more money for Alzheimer’s and cancer research and “climate change and resilience activities.”

If Congress passes the bill in time, it will complete the annual appropriations package.

For vital operations like Defense, Homeland Security, State Department and Labor, Health and Human Services departments to avoid interruption, the funding package must be finalized by Saturday morning.

President Joe Biden said the House and the Senate are working to pass the package, which he pledged to sign immediately.

In the House, Republicans are still divided over government funding, which will mean Democrat votes will likely be needed to get the funding bill passed.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor that he would put the package to a vote in the chamber “without delay” as soon as it is passed by the House.

“We haven’t had a government shutdown since 2019. There’s no good reason for us to have one this week,” he said.

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