Tuesday, 19 February, 2019

Big Budget Deal in Senate Hailed as "Genuine Breakthrough"

Sens. Mitch Mc Connell and Chuck Schumer Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell R-Ky. left and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer D-N.Y. Al Drago Pool | Getty Images file
Patty Aguilar | 08 February, 2018, 16:59

Negotiations have been ongoing on Capitol Hill in recent days to avert a government shutdown, with lawmakers acutely aware of the impact a government closure might have on market sentiment, given this week's stock market turmoil.

"This bill achieves our top priority, a much needed increase in funding for our national defense", she said.

Non-defence spending, such as a programme to provide health insurance for children, would reportedly increase by $63bn this year, and $68bn next year.

Nancy Pelosi may not be successful, but she's clearly paying more attention to the popular opinion of the Democratic base, which, as AlterNet has mentioned previously, is uniquely united around the need for a red line on the DREAM Act. The six-week stopgap spending bill contains increases for the military that long have been demanded by Trump and his GOP allies.

Several Senate Democrats, including John Tester of Montana, said they were buoyed by the deal but wanted to study the details before signing on.

Brokered by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the budget accord will increase military and domestic spending alike, lifting what were arbitrary caps on their growth imposed in 2011.

Well, the country is now on the eve of that infamous date that could bring about another government shutdown if Congress cannot come to terms on a long-term budget deal.

Both McConnell and Schumer reported progress Tuesday morning.

"The Republican Party seems to be the party of big government in this day and age", said Brooks, though he added he doesn't think there's enough opposition to sink it.

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Prospects for dealing with immigration, however, were as fuzzy as ever. At issue is legislation to address the dilemma of immigrants left vulnerable by Trump's move to end Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

Weeks of bargaining have left the two parties divided over how to extend protections for such Dreamer immigrants and a court ruling has blunted a March 5 deadline. It will help us serve the veterans who have bravely served us. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders sidestepped questions Wednesday about Trump's turnabout. But there is general confidence they'll get there.

"I'm sorry for that characterization".

The debt hike, in particular, is giving conservatives "heartburn", said Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), a member of the GOP vote-counting team.

The budget talks appeared to be going more smoothly. Spending caps that have threatened military preparedness and domestic programs would be lifted. At the same time, Congress tries to find a compromise to keep the government funded.

Dreamers and supporters mounted peaceful protests in a Senate office building and nearby church.

The deal also suspends the debt ceiling, which the federal government had been due to reach within the next month, until March 2019.

The key outlying issue appears to be for how long to hike the debt ceiling, which the USA is expected to hit next month, though the exact parameters were still being negotiated when the deal was announced. The budget deal tries to address some of these issues by allocating between $80 and $90 billion for disaster relief, welcome news for families and businesses in Florida, Puerto Rico, and Texas. "And it should break the long cycle of spending crises that have snarled this Congress and hampered our middle class", Schumer said.

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