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Senate leaders agree to major bipartisan budget deal

08 February, 2018, 09:29 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell walk to the Senate floor. Senate leaders have reached a two year budget deal adding billions of dollars in federal spending but paving the way forward to address other pendin

A large number of Democrats have said they won't support government funding bills without some sort of protection for Dreamers.

The performance had no immediate impact on Republican leaders, who have not agreed to a vote. The result is that most of the ten Senators wish to avoid any vote on the debate, and Ryan's promise to block any Senate bill will help them persuade their pro-amnesty colleagues to postpone hard votes until after the November election.

In financial markets, yields on benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR rose on news of the budget deal, on expectations of higher growth and potentially greater Treasury supply.

January's shutdown came after Democrats insisted any spending bill include protections for young immigrants known as "Dreamers" brought to the country illegally as children. "Republicans and Democrats must support our troops and support this Bill!"

In addition, Democrats won an additional $57 billion over two years in new funding for domestic programs - $26 billion for the remainder of this fiscal year, which began October 1, and $31 billion for fiscal year 2019.

The deal, if approved, would also fund the federal government until March 23, averting a second shutdown this year and giving lawmakers six weeks to resolve their differences over immigration policy and write the full-year budget.

A congressional source familiar with the agreement said it would increase non-defense spending by $131 billion and include $20 billion for infrastructure spending.

Overall, the product is closer to the kind of budget Barack Obama would have wanted, than the one that the Trump White House proposed a year ago.

The agreement, announced by both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate, would lift caps on defense funding and some domestic government spending.

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (R-Ill.), an outspoken leader of the party's Latino bloc, said Tuesday that any budget deal that does not protect dreamers would represent "a complete betrayal of a key, core principle" for Democrats and compared it to party leaders agreeing to close down Planned Parenthood clinics or ending federal recognition of same-sex marriages. And it would eliminate plans for federal rules regarding use of electronic health records to become more stringent over time, to make it easier for doctors and other providers of care to comply. "What's wrong, there's something wrong with this picture and that is why this morning, when we took a measure of our caucus on support for the package - well we have to see all the particulars of it yet but there are good things in it - that it does nothing to even advance, even with a commitment, without having passed the legislation first, to advance bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers in this house", she said.

"We've reached a deal neither side loves, but both sides can be proud of", Schumer said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the agreement was "the product of extensive negotiations among congressional leaders and the White House".

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also appeared to confirm that 2018 spending would be in the rough area of $700 billion. Trump has said he plans to kill DACA next month. It would also provide money for his border wall and curb legal immigration.

The plan is expected to be dead on arrival in the Senate, where leaders are working on a separate, expansive deal.

McConnell said the measure would rewrite existing defense limits that have "hamstrung our armed forces and jeopardized our national security".

The agreement would increase the government's borrowing cap to prevent a first-ever default on US obligations that looms in just a few weeks.

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.

The spending bill would modify the discretionary spending caps enforced by the Budget Control Act for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

McConnell has promised Democrats he would allow a free-flowing Senate debate on immigration by February 8 and that he would not try to influence the outcome.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the Freedom Caucus chairman, said Monday that the defense funding probably would be enough to win over at least half of the group's roughly three dozen members.

Meadows told MSNBC Wednesday that a bipartisan deal will draw "120 or 140 Democrats and maybe about the same on Republicans sending this to the president's desk". Lawmakers need to work out a spending measure before Thursday to avoid a government shutdown.

The bill to address carbon dioxide emissions passed by a small margin in the House but died in the Senate.

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

The spending bill would allocate about $160 billion to go to the Pentagon and about $128 billion for non-defense programs.


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