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House vote set to avoid shutdown and fund Pentagon for full year

11 February 2018

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives were expected to vote on a proposed budget deal on Thursday that would avert another government shutdown but that has angered fiscal conservatives who complain it would lead to a $1 trillion deficit. Under budget caps set in 2011, defense spending would have been capped at $549 billion this year. Republicans have pushed for defense hikes of $80 billion a year and have offered Democrats $60 billion a year for nondefense programs. Among other things, the bill would also provide two years of funding for the federal community health-center program.

Lawmakers intend to combine the two-year spending deal with a short-term measure to keep the government operating when current funding runs out at the end of the day Thursday. The government is now operating on its fourth continuing resolution of the fiscal year, and it expires on Thursday at midnight. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the agreement will add more than $300 billion to the federal deficit over 10 years.

But frustrations were clear in both sides of the Capitol, where just hours earlier leaders had been optimistic that the budget deal was a sign they had left behind some of their chronic dysfunction.

Asked to respond to this comment Tuesday, Schumer said, "Speaks for itself".

The agreement would also ensure funding for domestic priorities pushed by Democrats including disaster relief, health centres, and fighting a surging opioid epidemic.

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It also includes nearly $90 billion in disaster relief in response to last year's hurricanes and wildfires, and a higher statutory debt ceiling.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reported progress in their talks and expressed optimism they would reach a deal to keep government agencies open and on a broader budget deal that lifts the caps on amounts that could be spent on both defense and nondefense programs.

That part of the overall package was a bipartisan attempt by Senate leaders to end for many months, at least beyond November's mid-term congressional elections, the fiscal policy quarrels that increasingly consume Congress.

"I want people to feel uncomfortable", Paul said.

"We think when Democrats are in charge, the Republicans are the conservative party", Paul said in an interview on Fox News.

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Republican and Democratic rivals in the Senate earlier declared a breakthrough after months of bickering over spending priorities.

"This budget deal is a betrayal of everything limited government conservatism stands for and I will be voting no", Sen.

Democrats cancelled a retreat due to urgent nature of the bill, which does not contain any amendment to United States immigration law, the major issue that ultimately led to a shutdown last month, as a result of lawmakers failing to reach an agreement.

Their unity splintered during last month's three-day closure.

In two subsequent morning tweets, he took aim at Democrats, who had demanded more domestic spending in return for the votes needed to win enough bipartisan support to pass the deal.

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On Tuesday night, the House passed a six-week spending bill that would boost military funding by $65 billion for the rest of the fiscal year. Before it was announced, Republican members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus loudly panned the increased spending as fiscally irresponsible and warned it would add to burgeoning deficits.

House vote set to avoid shutdown and fund Pentagon for full year