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House passes funding bills to avert partial government shutdown

The House passed a package of six government funding bills Wednesday afternoon to avert a partial government shutdown before the Friday deadline.

The bills easily passed with a vote of 339-85 with more Democrats backing it than Republicans. The funding package now heads to the Senate, where its leaders are encouraging their colleagues to work together to pass the bills.

Lawmakers face pressure with a pair of upcoming shutdown deadlines on March 8 and March 22 -- a punt from last week's shutdown threat. Funding for programs under six of the 12 appropriations bills runs out on Friday evening absent congressional action.

MORE: Senate passes short-term funding bill to avert government shutdown

If Congress is successful, these six bills will be fully funded through the end of September.

The six compromise funding bills were unveiled jointly by House and Senate bipartisan leaders on Sunday, after many months of behind-the-scenes debate over how much these bills should costs, what policy provisions they ought to include, and what cuts could be made.

PHOTO: Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson speaks during a news conference at the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill, March 6, 2024, in Washington, D.C.  (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson speaks during a news conference at the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill, March 6, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The $467.5 billion appropriations package was voted on under suspension of the rules, which required a two-thirds majority to pass. That meant, once again, Speaker Mike Johnson had to rely on Democrats' votes to pass it -- a move that landed former speaker Kevin McCarthy in hot water and contributed to his ouster last year.

The package provides funding for the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Energy, Interior, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development as well as the Food and Drug Administration, military construction and other federal programs.

Earlier this week, the House Freedom Caucus -- a hard-line conservative group -- came out against the funding package, saying in a statement that it "surrenders Republicans' leverage to force radical Democrats to the table to truly secure the southern border and end the purposeful, dangerous mass release of illegal aliens into the United States."

"As with other recent spending bills, it is likely this omnibus receives more Democrat than Republican support. House Freedom Caucus Members urge all Republicans to oppose both halves of the omnibus," the group said.

MORE: Here's what to know if a partial government shutdown goes into effect

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to try to move the bills quickly through the Senate once they pass in the House.

"As soon as the House sends the appropriations bills over to the Senate I will put these bills on the floor so we can have them on President Biden's desk before Friday's deadline," Schumer said on the floor Tuesday. "But the clock is ticking and because of the State of the Union on Thursday, we need to cooperate to move extra fast to get these bills through. Between now and Friday the watch words for the Senate will be 'cooperation' and 'speed.'"

PHOTO: The Capitol, Feb. 27, 2024. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: The Capitol, Feb. 27, 2024. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Schumer said the Senate is "thankfully" off to a "very, very good start" to passing these bills. He touted the Democratic wins in the funding package.

"We passed these bills without devastating cuts or poison pill riders pushed by the MAGA right," Schumer said. "We now have six bills that will preserve significant investments for American families, for moms and children, for clean energy, for American veterans and more."

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said advancing the bills will be a "major step forward in one of our most basic responsibilities of government."

"I am grateful to our colleagues for pushing sensible annual funding legislation one step closer to the president's desk. I would certainly urge all of our colleagues to support it," McConnell said Tuesday.

Though Congress is largely expected to pass these six bills expiring at week's end before the deadline, there remains a funding fight looming the distance.

The other six funding bills, which lose funds on March 22, will likely prove much harder for Congress to pass. No deal has yet been struck on any compromise legislation, and, unlike some bills in the funding package being passed this week, none of the legislation in the next tranche of bills has been considered on the Senate floor.

ABC News' Sarah Beth Hensley contributed to this report.

House passes funding bills to avert partial government shutdown originally appeared on abcnews.go.com