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Congressional leaders strike short-term deal to avoid government shutdown

Congressional lawmakers reached a short-term dead to avert a government shutdown slated to happened this week, they announced Wednesday.

Congressional lawmakers reached a short-term deal to avoid a government shutdown this week while kicking several appropriations bills down the road to be decided later. 

The deal announced Wednesday will fund six bills that fall under the departments of Agriculture, Justice, Commerce, Energy, Interior, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development through March 8.

"We are in agreement that Congress must work in a bipartisan manner to fund our government," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The first round of bills would be voted on as a package. A remaining six bills would be extended to March 22.

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"To give the House and Senate Appropriations Committees adequate time to execute on this deal in principle, including drafting, preparing report language, scoring and other technical matters, and to allow members 72 hours to review, a short-term continuing resolution to fund agencies through March 8 and the 22 will be necessary, and voted on by the House and Senate this week," the lawmakers said. 

Under the terms of the deal, the House is expected to vote Thursday and the Senate soon after. If passed, the deal would avert a partial government shutdown slated to take effect on Friday. 

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"We're gonna prevent the shutdown. We're working on it," Johnson told Fox News on Tuesday. 

President Biden is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union speech on March 7, a day before the deadline to avoid a government shutdown. 

A government shutdown could mean government offices abruptly close and many federal employees being furloughed — if it lasts beyond the weekend.

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"We have been working in good faith around the clock every single day, for months and weeks, and over the last several days, quite literally around the clock, to get that job done. We're very optimistic," Johnson said after a White House meeting Tuesday.

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