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Congress Passes Federal Budget, Avoids Government Shutdown

The House and Senate passed the federal budget over the weekend of March 23, 2024. This passage was not easy.

Congress narrowly avoided a partial government shutdown earlier in the month under a continuing resolution that partially funded the government until the March 22 deadline. On the 22nd, it avoided that scenario only by an 11th-hour vote.

President Joe Biden signed it into law quickly that weekend to avoid a partial government shutdown, which could have seen troops working temporarily without pay until the budget could be passed.

Congress finalized and approved this federal budget a whopping six months into the fiscal year it is meant to fund, which means there are only six months remaining until the budget fight potentially starts all over again.

However, in politics, six months is a very long time, and it remains to be seen whether lawmakers will face the same difficulties.

What’s known at press time? President Joe Biden had to submit his federal budget request for 2025 before the budget for 2024 was even passed—many hope to avoid that scenario for the next round of negotiations.

What’s in the Federal Budget?

The full federal budget spending package is worth well over $1 trillion.

It funds various major federal agencies, including the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Defense Department. It includes a 5.2% raise for troops, nearly $30 billion for military housing, and more than $8 billion in food assistance for military families.

Military.com reports that the budget includes a “$1 billion increase for Head Start programs and new child care centers for military families” and a “$120 million increase in funding for cancer research and a $100 million increase for Alzheimer’s research” among other notable features.

Related: Ultimate Guide to GI Bill Benefits

What’s Missing

What’s NOT in the budget is just as notable as what was included. Many House faction-led culture war inclusions were stripped from the final budget, and the final version did not include substantial assistance for Ukraine.

The bill includes a $300 million aid package for Ukraine, but that total is far short of the much larger aid package needed to prevent major Russian gains.

A separate and much larger aid package was left hanging by the House of Representatives, which voted on the federal budget and then took the next two weeks off without acting on the separate measure.

In the meantime, Ukraine still has to defend itself against its much larger neighbor (Russia is some 28 times larger than Ukraine, according to data reported by Al Jazeera) while it waits for the House of Representatives to return and decide on a $95 billion aid package designed to help Ukraine defend itself.

What’s Next?

The federal government is officially fully funded until the end of the current fiscal year, which happens on September 30, 2024. There is no threat of a budget-related government shutdown for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Related: Ultimate Guide to GI Bill Benefits

About the author

Editor-in-Chief | + posts

Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.