Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

US Senate Republicans, Democrats Come Together On 2-Year Budget Deal

Sen. Rand Paul R-Ky. speaks with reporters on his way to a vote on the floor of the Senate at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday in Washington D.C View Slideshow
Melinda Barton | 09 February, 2018, 06:39

"Not only will it end this series of. fiscal crises that have gridlocked this body, it will also deliver a large investment in our military and robust funding of middle-class programs", the Senate's top Democrat Chuck Schumer told colleagues. The bill also includes $90 billion in disaster aid funding, making for a total of roughly $400 billion in spending.

Less than three weeks after the U.S. government shut down for three days after Democratic senators would not support a spending Bill that did not include protection for young undocumented immigrants, the threat of another shutdown loomed large this week.

Non-defense spending would rise by $63 billion this year and $68 billion next year.

"No one would suggest it is ideal, but we worked hard to find common ground", said McConnell, adding that the defense funding would "ensure that for the first time in years our armed services have more of the resources they need to keep America safe". It also includes: $6 billion to fight the opioid crisis; $5.8 billion for child care development block grants;$4 billion for veterans medical facilities; $2 billion for medical research; $20 billion to augment existing infrastructure programs; and $4 billion for college affordability. It would provide more weeks for lawmakers to work out details of the budget deal.

While some Democrats are planning to vote for the deal just to keep the government funded, among other reasons, it is unknown if there are enough Democratic votes to keep Ryan from trying to appeal to the House Freedom Caucus and those voting with them.

"We're certainly happy with the direction that it's moving", press secretary Sarah Sanders said, adding that the White House would need to see the final components. Trump threatened on Tuesday to upend budget talks by saying he would welcome a government shutdown if Congress were not able to agree to changes in immigration law that he said would prevent criminals from entering the country. If there are 40 Democratic yes votes no matter what leadership says, and there are only around 60 Republican no votes, Democratic leadership will have a tough time in any effort to extract a firmer promise from Speaker Ryan on immigration.

"This bill is the product of extensive negotiations among Congressional leaders and the White House", McConnell said.

The agreement would give the Pentagon an $80 billion increase for the current budget year for core defense programs, a 14 percent increase over current limits that exceeds Trump's budget request by $26 billion. Fiscal conservatives, like Sens.

Liberal stalwarts were also in revolt because the deal does nothing to protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Immigration is not part of the compromise.

The McConnell-Schumer deal does not include language about immigration or DACA, but McConnell has committed to a floor debate on immigration in the Senate.

She spoke for more than eight hours on the House floor Wednesday in support of Dreamers, immigrants brought to the U.S.by their parents as children.

"Our Dreamers hang in limbo, with a cruel cloud of fear and uncertainty above them", Pelosi said. At the end of 2017, Republicans pushed through a tax-cut plan that added $1.5tn to the 10-year budget deficit.

The agreement, though, does not tackle immigration - at a time when Congress is debating how to address those affected by the looming expiration of former President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.