Senate leaders put forward budget agreement day before shutdown deadline
- Sandy Mccarthy
The Children's Health Insurance Program got a four-year extension, and community health centers will see funding increases.
The short-term agreement the House is considering would fund the government through March 23 and provide money for defense for the rest of the fiscal year. But any changes to the measure mean the House will need to approve legislation before midnight on Thursday to avoid any government shutdown.
"This bill is the product of extensive negotiations among congressional leaders and the White House", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said on the Senate floor. It increases both defense and domestic spending by $300 billion over that duration. "It ends the unsafe sequester and gives Secretary Mattis what he needs to keep America Great", he added. before warning, "Republicans and Democrats must support our troops and support this Bill!"
McConnell has promised the Senate will debate competing immigration proposals next week if Congress can avert a shutdown, but neither he nor Schumer would embrace a specific policy proposal on Tuesday.
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Last month, the government closed and non-essential services ceased for three days when members of the two parties couldn't agree to a deal.
The accord, between Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and Chuck Schumer of NY, his Democratic counterpart, would raise strict caps on military and domestic spending that were imposed in 2011 as part of a deal with President Barack Obama that was once seen as a key triumph for Republicans in Congress.
"This budget deal is the first real sprout of bipartisanship, and it should break the long cycle of spending crises that have snarled this Congress and hampered our middle class", Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.
"We expect the government is not going to shut down this week", Short said. Defense hawks and moderates said the deal was an imperfect but decent compromise while conservatives blasted it as an ill-advised budget-buster.
"Our upcoming debate on DACA, border security and other issues will be a process that is fair to all sides", he said.
Overall, the product is closer to the kind of budget Barack Obama would have wanted, than the one that the Trump White House proposed past year.
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