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US Congressional Negotiators Agree on 2014 Government Spending Bill


Negotiators in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have reached an agreement on a trillion-dollar budget that would fund the federal government though September, a deal that potentially avoids another government shutdown.

The accord was announced late Monday in a joint statement by Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Republican Representative Harold Rogers, her counterpart in the Republican-controlled House.

The detailed spending plan is the result of an agreement reached in December between the House and Senate that would fund the federal government for the next two years. That agreement was crafted in the aftermath of a 16-day government shutdown back in October.



The new spending bill eliminates the deep automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, that affected both domestic and military programs last year. The measure includes an extra $92 billion to fund overseas military operations, much of it for the ongoing war in Afghanistan. It also reverses a cut in pension payments to disabled military veterans and survivors.

The measure eliminates funding for high-speed rail projects supported by U.S. President Barack Obama, as well as money to allow the United States to meet its commitments to the International Monetary Fund.

But Republicans failed to cut funding for the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Obama's signature domestic legislation, although they managed to cut $1 billion from a public health fund established under the law.

The federal government is currently operating under a temporary spending bill that expires Wednesday. Lawmakers are expected to pass another short-term bill that would finance the government for a few days until the new comprehensive bill is approved by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

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