McConnell tees up budget deal

Nellie Chapman
February 8, 2018

Senate leaders announced yesterday they have sealed agreement on a two-year budget pact that would shower the Pentagon and domestic programs with nearly $300 billion above existing limits, giving wins to both GOP defense hawks and Democrats seeking billions for infrastructure projects and combating opioid abuse.

The bipartisan deal lifts mandatory federal spending caps imposed under the 2011 Budget Control Act.

In a vote of 245-182 on Tuesday night, the House passed a temporary spending bill to extend most government spending at current levels through 23 March while providing more funds for the Pentagon through 30 September, the end of the current fiscal year, reports Xinhua news agency. The deal also suggests the extension of children's insurance program for ten years instead of the current six.

The United States Senate agreed a bipartisan budget deal on Wednesday, though doubts remained about whether it would pass the House of Representatives ahead of a looming government shutdown deadline.

Ron Sachs/SIPA/NewscomAfter weeks of negotiation, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have reached the outlines of a spending deal that would avert a government shutdown.

That introduced doubts as to whether the plan could pass in House, where prominent GOP conservatives are also opposed to the higher spending.

Once Congress funds the government - if it does - McConnell said he would keep his promise to bring up legislation to address immigration and specifically a fix for the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that Trump ordered to expire on March 5.

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"I'd love to see a shutdown if we can't get this stuff taken care of", Trump said during a round table with law enforcement at the White House Tuesday afternoon.

"If we don't change it, let's have a shutdown", he said.

If that fails, the USA government would experience its second shutdown this year, after a partisan standoff over US immigration policy led to a three-day partial shutdown last month.

But a large number of them are likely to support any deal that their Democratic leaders sign off on, especially if it includes increases for domestic programs, funding for community health centers and other Democratic priorities.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). That means as many as 100 Democratic votes may be needed to get it through the House.

According to the congressional official familiar with the agreement, the plan includes $20 billion for infrastructure over two years, including roads and drinking water.

After a House vote, the Senate could strip out the defence portion and send it back to the House.

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