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US Congress leaders agree on deal to avoid government shutdown

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Congressional leaders in Washington have reached a deal to keep the government funded until early March, a source familiar with the negotiations told AFP on Saturday.

Announcement of the proposal comes just before January 19 and February 2 deadlines, when federal agencies would have run out of funding in the two-tranche approach.

The short-term bill, also called a continuing resolution, will keep the government open until March 1 and 8, the source said — giving lawmakers time to agree on larger budget and spending particulars.

The continuing resolution will need to be passed by both houses of Congress for the country to avoid a government shutdown.

Last weekend US lawmakers announced they had come to an agreement on fiscal year 2024 funding totals, establishing a roughly $1.6 trillion “topline” federal spending limit.

That deal, announced by Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson and Democratic leaders in Congress, includes an increase in Pentagon spending to some $886 billion and some $773 billion for non-defense discretionary funding.

Stop-gap funding measures are often used to keep the US government open amid frequent political squabbles over how to spend money and tackle rising national debt.

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