Will there be a government shutdown? Congress running out of time to strike a deal.

WASHINGTON – Stop us if you've heard this one before: Congress has until Friday to reach a spending agreement or the nation will face a partial government shutdown.

It's the fourth such deadline lawmakers have approached in recent months. The last three times they opted for short-term deals, pushing off more permanent solutions after failing to reach a funding compromise.

Lawmakers crafted an agreement in January about how much they will spend overall. In the weeks since, they've worked on allocating that money to different agencies, but policy fights and spending requests have gummed up the works.

With only five days to go until a partial shutdown, leaders have still not released bills to fund programs for agriculture, food and drugs, energy and water, military construction, veterans affairs, transportation and housing.

Another shutdown deadline looms close behind: Funding for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Commerce, Labor, State and Defense expires March 8.

Here's what to know about the impending government funding deadline:

How did we get here?

The 12 appropriations bills that keep the government functioning for the next year are due annually at the end of September. When it became clear lawmakers wouldn't meet the deadline in 2023, then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. put his job on the line to pass an extension through November.

Several hard-right Republicans in the House, livid that the extension didn't include conservative policy priorities, moved to kick McCarthy out of his post. After the House was frozen for weeks, Republicans ultimately elected Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., the new speaker.

Johnson has tried to navigate conservative pushback against spending agreements ever since. Under his leadership, lawmakers extended funding again in November and January.

Ultraconservative House lawmakers are putting Johnson under immense pressure to deliver a government funding bill with GOP policy priorities attached, ranging from abortion restrictions to food assistance cuts. Those proposals are a no-go with Democrats, and Senate Republicans also largely support funding the government without the policy add-ons.

"As always, the task at hand will require that everyone rows in the same direction," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday on the floor of the Senate.

If they can't get policy wins, hard-right members say, they instead want an extension until the end of September. But that would institute across-the-board 1% spending cuts that Democrats and moderate Republicans oppose.

Now, each side is saying the other is holding up the process as they work out the bill's final details.

What would be affected by a government shutdown?

A government shutdown means all officials and federal agencies that aren't deemed “essential” have to stop their work and close their doors. If the government does shut down, thousands of federal employees would be furloughed.

"Essential" federal workers, which range from air traffic controllers to emergency personnel in national parks, would work without pay, but they would receive back pay once a shutdown ends. Some subcontractors for the government could be out of work and would not receive back pay.

A shutdown can also have significant effects on Americans who don't work for the federal government. For example, some food assistance benefits could be delayed, and certain food safety inspections could be put on pause.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warned in a news briefing last year that if a shutdown does occur, funding for WIC – or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children – could suffer immediately.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said a shutdown could also disrupt federal housing loan support and veterans programs.

What happens next?

Lawmakers may announce an agreement on the first four appropriations bills they must pass to keep the government's doors open as soon as Tuesday. Adhering to a promise to allow House members to review any legislation for 72 hours, the House would vote on the legislation as early as Friday morning.

If all goes according to plan, the Senate would then vote on the bills Saturday morning, creating a government shutdown of only a few early-morning hours with little interruption in services. Funding technically expires at midnight Friday.

But if lawmakers can't reach a deal, leaders may need to explore other options. Ultraconservative Republicans plan to push for a full-year extension; most others say another short-term extension is more likely.

Some hard-right members are arguing they should threaten a shutdown to get what they're asking for – a position that has proven unpopular with most voters.

Contributing: Ken Tran

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Will there be a government shutdown 2024? Congress faces deadline