U.S. House Republicans target deeper spending cuts, raising shutdown threat

us.-house-republicans-target-deeper-spending-cuts,-raising-shutdown-threat
U.S. House Republicans target deeper spending cuts, raising shutdown threat

U.S House of Representatives Republicans on Thursday adopted government spending targets for the next fiscal year below the level agreed by Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Democratic President Joe Biden, setting up a conflict with the Democratic-led Senate that could once again jeopardize a government shutdown. The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee voted 33-27 along party lines to adopt a discretionary spending level of $1.47 trillion for fiscal year 2024, which commences on Oct. 1. That is approximately $120 billion below the $1.59 trillion set out in the debt ceiling bill negotiated by Biden and McCarthy. The targets would maintain defense spending at the $866 billion level agreed in the debt ceiling legislation. However, the plan would reduce spending for the environment, public assistance, and foreign aid. It would also increase spending for border security, drug enforcement, and countering China. Democrats argue that the lower levels violate the debt-ceiling agreement. Republicans counter that the deal only capped spending. “The debt ceiling bill set a ceiling, not a floor, for fiscal year 2024 bills. The allocations before us reflect the change members on my side of the aisle want to see,” said Appropriations Committee chair Kay Granger. Congress will attempt to pass 12 appropriations bills before October, covering everything from law enforcement to scientific research. On Wednesday, the panel adopted a bill that would reduce spending on agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration by 30% from current levels. Republicans on the committee unveiled another bill for energy and water development that Democrats said reduces spending on domestic programs like green energy incentives by 22%. Democrats also objected to policies that Republicans attached to the spending bills, such as one that would prevent an abortion drug from being distributed through pharmacies. Lower spending levels could make it more difficult for the House to reach agreement with the Democratic-led Senate. Federal agencies could have to shut down if the two chambers are unable to agree to spending levels by October. “They’re moving toward a shutdown. That’s what they seem to want to guarantee,” Representative Rosa DeLauro, the top House Democratic appropriator, told RushHourDaily. Republican Representative Steve Womack also expressed concern about a shutdown. “I worry about what’s going to happen on Oct. 1,” he said.

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