The U.S. House of Representatives approves a partial budget of over 400 billion dollars for the fiscal year 2024

EFE

The U.S. House of Representatives approved this Wednesday, two days before funds run out, the partial budget for fiscal year 2024 with a projected expenditure of 460 billion dollars.

The budget bill, which still requires procedural approval from the Senate, was approved in the House with 339 votes in favor and 85 against.

Fiscal year 2024 began on October 1, 2023, but Democrats and Republicans had not been able to agree on the accounts, so Congress had approved up to four budget extensions to avoid a government shutdown due to lack of funds.

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The first of these extensions, in fact, caused the fall of the then Speaker of the House, Republican Kevin McCarthy, within a fratricidal war of conservatives.

What was approved this Wednesday is a macro bill of 1,050 pages that encompasses six budget laws and represents roughly half of the state budget. To approve the other half, Congress has until March 22.

This partial budget, which should not encounter problems in the Senate, includes funding for the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, part of Defense, Transportation, Interior, and Energy. In total, it's 460 billion dollars.

Republicans have achieved cuts in some of their priorities, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which will see its budget reduced from 10.1 billion dollars in 2023 to 9.2 billion now.

Likewise, an increase of 212 million dollars has been agreed to the item for nuclear programs of the Department of Energy, which amounts to 1.69 billion dollars.

The Senate now has to schedule, within a tight agenda, the approval of the package before midnight on Friday to avoid a government shutdown.

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Paradoxically, the White House is expected to present its requests for the fiscal year 2025 budget next week, when Congress will not yet have approved the entirety of the 2024 budget.

Every time a government shutdown is less than a week away, the White House activates a protocol to prepare all its departments.

A government shutdown would mean sending hundreds of thousands of public employees home without work or pay and the paralysis of many services.

The last shutdown of this kind occurred during the presidency of Republican Donald Trump (2017-2021) and was, with 35 days (from December 22, 2018 to January 29, 2019), the longest in history during the holiday season.