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Fundamental agreement reached in US budget dispute

Democrats and Republicans have been arguing over the budget for months. Now the US Congress has agreed on a compromise. But not everyone is happy with the agreement. The danger of a “shutdown” remains.

The leading representatives of Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress have reached a fundamental agreement in the budget dispute. The compromise announced on Sunday after weeks of negotiations is intended to prevent a budget freeze, the so-called shutdown.

The agreement sets a spending cap of around $1.6 trillion (1.45 trillion euros) for the 2024 fiscal year, according to House Republican Leader Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat. informed.

This includes $886 billion for defense and $704 billion for other spending. However, two leading Democrats, Chuck Schumer and Hakeem Jeffries, put non-defense spending at $772.7 billion, almost $69 billion more than Johnson stated. Nondefense spending would protect key domestic priorities such as veterans’ benefits, health care and food subsidies from cuts.

Republicans partly not satisfied with compromise

US President Joe Biden said the deal brings the country one step closer to “preventing an unnecessary government shutdown and protecting important national priorities.” Republican Johnson said that “the final spending will not satisfy everyone and that it does not cut as much spending as many of us would like.”

The compromise is likely to particularly anger the far-right wing of the Republican faction in the House of Representatives, whose representatives are pushing for austerity measures. The conservative Republican group House Freedom Caucus criticized the budget agreement on the social media platform X as a “total failure.” The Republican hardliner in the House of Representatives, Chip Roy, describes the spending framework adopted as “terrible”.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress now have to negotiate further details and pass a law by January 19th. Otherwise, funding for part of government operations would cease.

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