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WASHINGTON: The US Senate and House on Thursday were due to push ahead with conflicting government funding plans, raising the chances of the fourth partial shutdown of the federal government in a decade beginning in just three days.

The Senate planned a procedural vote on a stopgap funding bill that has broad bipartisan support in the chamber, while the House of Representatives is set for late-night votes on four partisan appropriations bills that have no chance of becoming law and would not alone prevent a shutdown even if they did.

Congress must pass legislation that Democratic President Joe Biden can sign into law by midnight Saturday (0400 GMT on Sunday) to avoid furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal workers and halting a wide range of services, from economic data releases to nutrition benefits, for the fourth time in the last decade.

House Republicans, led by a small faction of hardline conservatives in the chamber they control by a 221-212 margin, have rejected spending levels for fiscal year 2024 set in a deal Speaker Kevin McCarthy negotiated with Biden in May.

The agreement included $1.59 trillion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2024. House Republicans are demanding another $120 billion in cuts, plus tougher legislation that would stop the flow of immigrants at the US southern border with Mexico.

The funding fight focuses on a relatively small slice of the $6.4 trillion US budget for this fiscal year. Lawmakers are not considering cuts to popular benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

McCarthy is facing intense pressure from his caucus to achieve their goals. Several hardliners have threatened to oust McCarthy from his leadership role if he passes a spending bill that requires any Democratic votes to pass.

“I think that the speaker is making a choice between the speakership and American interests,” Biden told a group of donors at a fundraiser in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Former President Donald Trump has taken to social media to push his congressional allies toward a shutdown.

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