Major Senate Budget Deal

Donald Trump Paul Ryan

Sen. Rand Paul on Thursday night is holding up a vote on a bill that would keep the government funded in order to avert a government shutdown early Friday morning.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a bipartisan two-year budget agreement Wednesday that would provide almost $300 billion more for defense and non-defense spending, a step likely to avert a Friday government shutdown and end a months-long impasse on spending priorities.

Democrats did manage to get $6 billion in funding to deal with the opioid crisis and drug addiction, one of their key demands, and the package includes $20 billion in funding for infrastructure fix and improvement.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he believes there are enough votes in the House to pass the Senate's version of the bill. Government funding expires Thursday at midnight.

It was an unexpected nail-biter: After a short "technical" shutdown, Congress early Friday passed a measure that would raise spending levels by $300 billion over the next two years.

"While President Trump threatens shutdowns and stalemates, congressional leaders have done the hard work of finding compromise and consensus", Schumer said.

We don't know exactly what might be in this agreement - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer won't go into the details because it's not finalized - but you can expect more spending on priorities for both parties.

Democrats on the left, especially members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, were frustrated to see a budget deal negotiated that resolved virtually every Democratic priority except a resolution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a policy that protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the USA as children that President Donald Trump chose to terminate in September.

Senate leaders reached a long-term budget deal to fund the government on Wednesday - despite President Trump's desires for a government shutdown and a showdown on immigration. The Senate then sent the bill to the US House of Representatives. "And it should break the long cycle of spending crises that have snarled this Congress and hampered our middle class", Schumer said.

"Unless the White House is clairvoyant, there's no way the fiscal 2019 budget that's due to be released this Monday will be relevant", said long-time budget watcher Stan Collender in a statement. But after dropping the DACA time-bomb in their laps, Trump should not expect Senate Republicans, who hold the slimmest of majorities, to vet and vote on his sweeping immigration plan by the March 5 cutoff. It would include a $35 billion boost in defense spending through the end of September, and fund the rest of government until March 23. Last year, Trump said that the country could use a "good shutdown".

Still, Democrats protested that the bill doesn't include a solution for America's so-called "Dreamers" - the illegal immigrants brought here when they were young.

"We are pleased Congress has been able to meet our defense spending requirement and come together on a two-year spending bill", White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.



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