Sunday, 19 August, 2018

House Prepares Another Spending Punt

Trump flanked by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, listens during a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington House Prepares Another Spending Punt
Patty Aguilar | 06 February, 2018, 22:47

Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate are nearing agreement on a two-year budget bill to avoid another government shutdown, Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer said Tuesday.

The prospective longer-term budget agreement would give both the Pentagon and domestic agencies relief from a budget freeze that lawmakers say threatens military readiness and training as well as domestic priorities such as combating opioid abuse and repairing the government's troubled health care system for veterans.

Schumer emerged from the meeting and repeatedly told reporters they had "good meeting" but declined to provide further details.

Shortly after it was reported House Republicans were going to discuss the proposal Monday night, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he opposes the idea.

The federal government is now running on its fourth short-term funding bill for the fiscal year that began October 1, 2017. Last month, the government closed and nonessential services ceased for three days when members of the two parties couldn't agree to a deal.

Republicans in the House will reportedly pitch a plan that includes funding the military for a year and the rest of the government for a shorter period to prevent a government shutdown this week.

With the bill failing to press, McConnell could amend the House resolution with any deal he and Schumer work out.

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"There's no way we'll reach an agreement that can pass the Senate".

Scalise noted the House has passed 2018 defense appropriations multiple times, yet the Senate has failed to pass the measure. "We've passed a number of defense appropriations bills and the Senate has yet to take action on any of them - so it's about time that they confront the importance of funding our national defense". Talks in the Senate on such a framework appeared to intensify in hopes of an agreement this week, aides and lawmakers said.

The potential agreement would significantly exceed Trump's request for a $54 billion increase in defense spending - to $603 billion before adding war funds - above the current cap. "We're standing up and saying we must do both".

He and McConnell both reported progress toward a plan that would respond to the House bill with a long-awaited spending pact to give big increases both to the Pentagon and domestic programs — nearly $300 billion spread over two years.

"Everyone understands that this will probably end up being a ping-pong situation" of legislation flip-flopping between the House and Senate, Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida said Monday night.

"I don't think we'll see a threat [of a] government shutdown again".

Last month, Senate Democrats agreed to keep the government running for two and-a-half weeks after ending their holdout to address the status of 800,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. They supported a short-term spending bill that doesn't address immigration because McConnell promised that he will allow debate on Dreamers legislation.

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