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Temporary government funding bill heads to the Senate

09 February 2018

Senate leaders have reached a budget deal, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday.

But the sensitive issue of immigration - which has been mired in congressional gridlock for weeks as lawmakers and the White House negotiate over the fate of millions of undocumented migrants - is not expected to be in the latest compromise agreement.

The deal eliminates the civilian and military sequester for two years, increasing the Pentagon funding by $80 billion and domestic spending by $63 billion for the fiscal year 2018, NPR reported citing congressional sources.

"The budget deal does not have everything Democrats want, it does not have everything the Republicans want, but it has a great deal of what the American people want", Schumer said in his speech on the House Floor.

The budget agreement "does not have my support, nor does it have the support of a large number of members of our caucus", Pelosi said, as reported by AP.

"I'm heartened that Congress recognizes the sobering effect of budgetary uncertainty on America's military and on the men and women who provide for our nation's defense", Mattis said during the White House briefing.

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"I don't think that's going to happen", McConnell said about the prospects of a shutdown.

The House and Senate today are expected to vote on a bipartisan budget deal that funds the government for two years.

The defense-first strategy from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was created to win over support from conservative hard-liners and defense hawks in the House GOP conference who were threatening to oppose the stopgap bill - the fifth temporary funding patch since September. "I'm against adding over $1 trillion of debt", Paul said.

McConnell also highlighted the funding for fighting opioid abuse and disaster aid, along with assurances on transportation and infrastructure, which he called a bipartisan priority.

However, not much has been mentioned about what the proposed agreement includes to protect "DREAMer" immigrants - a sticking point that might affect the potential for the bill to pass the House.

Congress has until midnight to pass some sort of a budget deal or risk a second government shutdown this year.

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After a three-day partial shutdown of the government last month, Senate Democrats ultimately backed down on their demands to tie negotiations to a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Ryan said he supports the agreement, adding the proposal includes "enormous strides" for the country's defense system.

At the same time, many liberal Democrats wanted to withhold their support as leverage to win concessions on immigration policy. "I want to thank my friend the Democratic Leader for joining me this afternoon, and for the productive discussions that generated this proposal", McConnell, standing alongside Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

"We have reached the budget deal that neither side loves but both sides can be proud of", he said.

During the White House event targeted on criminal threats raised by few immigrants, USA president, Donald Trump stated that, "I'd love to see a shutdown if we don't get this stuff taken care of".

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Temporary government funding bill heads to the Senate