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House passes stopgap bill to prevent government shutdown; faces changes in Senate

08 February 2018

The U.S. Senate, in a rare display of bipartisanship, on Wednesday reached a two-year budget deal to raise federal spending by nearly $300 billion, in an attempt to end the kind of squabbling over fiscal issues that has plagued Washington for years.

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill on January 22, 2018. The limit on military and other defense spending would be increased by $80 billion in the current fiscal year and $85 billion in the next year, which begins October 1, the aide said.

The bill also lifts the nation's debt ceiling for a year and allocates $90 billion in emergency funds for areas hit by hurricanes and wildfires. The deal has some cuts to offset about $100 billion of the additional spending.

The White House later clarified that it did not expect the budget deal to include specifics on immigration.

Sen. Robert P. Casey (D-Pa.) said approving the compromise deal now will open the path for a wide-open debate next week in the Senate on the DACA program and other immigration proposals - what Democrats should consider a political victory. The agreement would also set up $140 billion in war funding and $20 billion more for other emergency spending.

"More budget reforms are needed, which is why we are laying the foundation for a better process".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the pact, joined on the Senate floor by top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of NY.

According to several sources involved, the votes will be there for this in the House, but that doesn't mean Democrats - who will have to provide a significant number of "yes" votes due to pockets of GOP opposition to the spending increases - will be happy about it.

The deal brokered by Senate leaders would shower the Pentagon and domestic programs with an extra $300 billion over the next two years. It's the largest year-over-year increase to the Pentagon's budget since it jumped more than 25 percent in 2003, when hundreds of thousands of US troops were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Democrats have refused to sign on to any defense spending increase absent an agreement to bolster non-defense spending alongside it.

The temporary funding measure would also reauthorize funding for community health centers, which enjoy widespread bipartisan support.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Schumer focused on the new agreement as a rare moment of bipartisanship and cooperation. But the House is another matter.

When HuffPost asked Brooks about conservatives potentially driving Ryan into making deals with Democrats, he suggested it was the responsibility of Republicans to hold the line on spending.

"We'll be here to vote", Hoyer said. That plan, however, would likely be dead on arrival in the Senate, where Democrats are holding out for a matching increase in nondefense spending, and a bill that emerges from that chamber could have trouble passing the House.

"It's so much money", House Freedom Caucus member Scott Perry summarized.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., called the spending bill "a debt junkie's dream", adding, "I'm not only a no".

Democrats seemed similarly conflicted.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

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US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that they have reach agreement on a two-year budget deal.

Without that, "this package does not have my support nor does it have the support of large numbers of members of our caucus", she said.

The full agreement remains to be hammered out between the House and Senate, but Defense Secretary James Mattis pronounced himself "very happy with $700 [billion] for this year, and $716 [billion] for next".

DACA is the Obama-era program that shields those immigrants from deportation.

The DACA program was established in 2012 just a month after Latthivongskorn graduated from college with degrees in molecular and cellular biology, Pelosi said.

Congress faces another deadline on a separate front.

The House on Tuesday voted to advance a bill that would keep the government funded through March 23 while also funding the Department of Defense for the rest of the fiscal year and extending some key Medicare programs. A Senate vote on the measure could occur as soon as Wednesday, though leaders have not yet scheduled any floor activity.

The budget deal would be paired with a stopgap spending measure that would keep federal agencies open past Thursday, when the current funding measure is set to expire. And that's already causing a snag in the House.

As Pelosi spoke on the House floor, former vice president Joe Biden warned in a speech to House Democrats that the party is engaged in a "false debate" over the fight between defending cultural diversity and fighting for working-class job and wage growth.

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