US House passes funding bills to avoid potential govt shutdown

The US House of Representatives has passed a package of seven appropriations bills to fund most federal agencies for the new fiscal year beginning on October 1 to avoid a potential government shutdown.

The House on Thursday passed the package in a 219-208 vote along party lines that would provide around $617 billion to fund the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labour, Transportation, Treasury, and other agencies, reports Xinhua news agency.

“After the devastation of the pandemic and decades of disinvestment, the American economy caters increasingly to the wealthy and leaves the middle class, hard-working families, small businesses, and the vulnerable behind,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro said in a statement on Thursday.

“With these bills, we are reversing these trends and investing in the American people,” DeLauro said.

“The funding increases in the Labour, Health and Human Services, and Education bill will help create a society that provides people with the help they so desperately need.”

The vote came after the House on Wednesday night passed two bills that would provide about $67 billion for the State Department, foreign aid programs and the Legislative Branch, largely along party lines.

However, the Senate is yet to take up any appropriations bills for the new fiscal year.

Analysts have however, said that Congress is no closer to a bipartisan funding deal that would stave off a government shutdown in two months.

“Nobody thinks we’re going to do anything until after September 30,” Tom Cole, the Republican Congressman from Oklahoma, said in an interview with Politico.

He added that Congress will fall back on a continuing resolution to temporarily extend current funding to prevent a government shutdown on October 1.