Senate Passes Spending Bill; House Takes Up Measure Next

Glen Norman
February 12, 2018

"It is the result of six months of efforts to secure funding for our military, and it will allow Congress to end the cycle of governing by stop-gap measure and move on to other important agenda items".

Senate leaders reached a long-term budget deal to fund the government on Wednesday - despite President Trump's desires for a government shutdown and a showdown on immigration.

The White House's Office of Management and Budget "is now preparing for a lapse in appropriations", an OMB official said on condition of anonymity late Thursday, calling on lawmakers to get the measure to Trump's desk "without delay".

"If we don't change it, let's have a shutdown", Trump said at a White House session with law enforcement officials and Republican lawmakers. "Leadership wants a budget deal, but we also want a commitment".

The deal, the fifth temporary funding measure for the fiscal year that began October 1, replenishes federal coffers until March 23, giving lawmakers more time to write a full-year budget.

"Unlike in the Senate, there is no agreement that the House will even consider legislation to protect DREAMers", Hoyer wrote in response to a member's question of how to vote on the budget plan.

Senators were indicating Tuesday that they were close to a deal on spending.

Less than two months after their $1 trillion tax cut, the House will vote on a spending bill Thursday that raises budget caps by $300 billion in the next two years, increases the debt ceiling and offers up more than $80 billion in disaster relief for hurricane-ravaged Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

"We will effectively shut down the federal government for no good reason", said Sen.

Democrats did manage to get $6 billion in funding to deal with the opioid crisis and drug addiction, one of their key demands, and the package includes $20 billion in funding for infrastructure fix and improvement.

"We're making real progress on a spending deal", Schumer said. "I want them to answer people at home who say, 'How come you were against President Obama's deficits but you're for Republican deficits?' Isn't that the very definition of intellectual dishonestly?" "And that means caps that get us off of the sequestration level", said Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), an appropriator.

But House conservatives have balked at the idea of a massive spending hike that adds billions of dollars to the deficit, and have insisted that GOP leaders hold the line when it comes to boosting non-defense spending programs.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the deal will provide "certainty" for the next two years and achieves a "much needed" increase in funding for the national defense.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, announced she would withhold support for the funding deal until Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan commits to a floor vote to address the plight of beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Senate Democrats were expected to baulk at the Bill's inclusion of an increase in Pentagon funding but exclusion of any increase in non-defence spending.

However, it would not resolve the plight of immigrant "Dreamers" who face deportation after being brought to the USA illegally as children.

McConnell said he would structure a fair debate and votes on the several bills being negotiated by different bipartisan and Republican groups. Pelosi had demanded a vote on Dreamers before supporting the deal. And the Senate is going to work its will.

"'I talked to him this afternoon", he said. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. "But the problem is the only time we discover bipartisanship is when we spend more money".

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