Senate leaders put forward budget agreement day before shutdown deadline

Senate leaders put forward budget agreement day before shutdown deadline

Senate leaders put forward budget agreement day before shutdown deadline

USA lawmakers were expected to vote on Thursday on a two-year budget deal that would avert another government shutdown but add $300 billion to the federal deficit and leave the thorny issue of immigration unresolved.

The Senate deal would lift caps first imposed in 2011 on defense funding and domestic spending.

Defense: Increase defense spending over current law by $80 billion in fiscal 2018 and $85 billion in fiscal 2019, pleasing defense hawks who have called for increased funding and stability in the military budget.

Democrats had been demanding "parity" as part of the deal, meaning that domestic spending gets the same increase the defense spending gets as part of any deal.

CHIP: Extend the reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program to 10 years and provide funding for community health centers.

Congress has until February 8 to pass a spending bill, and the deal would fund the government through March 23.

The budget deal would be paired with a stopgap spending measure that would keep federal agencies open past Thursday, when the current funding measure expires. Before it was announced, Republican members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus loudly panned the increased spending as fiscally irresponsible and warned it would add to burgeoning deficits. "To say I am discouraged by the outcome of these negotiations would be an understatement".

The Senate is expected to vote and pass a budget compromise Thursday but the House is not yet on board.

"We are not advocating for the shutdown", insisted White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

President Donald Trump has also muddied the waters saying earlier this week that he would "love to see a shutdown" if his demands to crack down on immigration were not met. "The budget deal doesn't have everything Democrats want, it doesn't have everything Republicans want, but it has a great deal of what the American people want".

Pelosi followed her surprise statement with a dramatic and lengthy speech on the House floor, where she read heart-tugging stories of DREAMers aspiring to become USA citizens while calling on Ryan to guarantee a vote for a long-term legislative solution for their status.

A group of lawmakers of both parties is putting increasing pressure on House Speaker Paul Ryan to make a commitment to bring immigration legislation to the floor and allow an open debate like the Senate.

The California Democrat followed her surprise announcement that she would oppose a budget deal to avert a government shutdown with a talk-a-thon to protest congressional inaction on legislation to protect DREAMers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States when they children.

The bill is likely to receive lose Republican votes from fiscal conservatives, so Pelosi's leverage may become critical if it is to pass. The deal would also end - at least for a while - the prolonged congressional cycle of fiscal standoffs and short-term spending patches.

"The commitment to invest $6 billion over the next two years is a good start for OH communities in desperate need of resources to battle the opioid epidemic", said Sen.

The Senate is expected to rewrite the measure by stripping out military funding and including leadership language on spending caps before passing it and sending it back for House approval by Thursday.

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