Senate Strikes a Deal, but Pelosi is Balking

Senate Strikes a Deal, but Pelosi is Balking

The Senate intends to add the budget deal to a short-term spending measure, which, passed by the House on Tuesday, would fund the government through March 23, in order to avoid a government shutdown on Friday, according to local media.

The budget agreement negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., calls for a $63 billion increase in domestic spending and $80 billion more for defense spending.

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joined him in outlining a plan calling for spending increases in both military and domestic programs, including veterans' health care and fighting opioid abuse.

The House passed a temporary spending bill on Tuesday to keep the United States government open until March 23 and fund the Defense Department through September as congressional leaders closed in on a longer-term agreement.

Chuck Schumer, D-New York, McConnell tweeted, "I'm happy to announce that our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on defense spending and other priorities have yielded a significant agreement". It's not clear how many House Democrats will follow Pelosi's lead and oppose it.

"We didn't agree on anything, but at least we got them talking some specifics- obviously there are wide areas of disagreement, which will not surprise you, but it was useful", he said of Tuesday's immigration meeting.

The White House plan - which would put 1.8 million immigrants on a path to citizenship, boost border security, and dramatically curtail legal immigration - has been panned by Democrats.

The overhanging reality in the talks about potentially locking in a major agreement this week is Democrats will be needed in both chambers to muscle it to passage. Schumer has in effect won a 5 percent bump to domestic spending caps that leaves the long-suffering cash-starved systems like public housing far behind the funding levels experts say they need.

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A budget agreement would nearly certainly mean that many Democrats would support it, thereby guaranteeing that there wouldn't be another shutdown.

The agreement repeals spending cuts - known as the sequester - that were scheduled to hit defense and domestic programs.

The play call in advance of the Thursday government funding deadline all but assures a volley with the Senate, which is expected to reject the House GOP measure.

Senate Democrats made a decision to delay their fight to protect the almost 700,000 young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, which in part led to last month's three-day shutdown.

The House's top Democrat swung out against the latest plan. The agreement was reached after Senate Democrats agreed to set aside their immigration policy demands - something House Democrats may not be willing to do.

The disagreement may mean the spending bill will bounce back and forth between the House and Senate several times in the coming days as the two sides try to resolve their differences. "I would be very surprised if more than a couple of the Freedom Caucus members would vote yes", Meadows said.

That was a turnaround from Tuesday, when Trump had said he would "love" a shutdown if he did not get his way on immigration.

The deal also suspends the debt ceiling, which the federal government had been due to reach within the next month, until March 2019. The bill would also provide long overdue disaster funding for Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico months after hurricanes devastated homes, infrastructure and coastlines there. The first year of the deal, for example, adds $26 billion more than simply canceling sequestration would have done - making the new cap $542 billion total, which is still less than the inflation-adjusted spending Congress approved on such services in 2011.

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