Published: Thu, February 08, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

US Senate reaches two-year bipartisan budget deal: leaders

US Senate reaches two-year bipartisan budget deal: leaders

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill on January 22, 2018.

According to congressional sources briefed on the deal, the plan eliminates mandatory spending cuts for two years and increases Pentagon spending by $80 billion and domestic spending by $63 billion for the 2018 fiscal year. Leaders in both parties are working on a two-year deal to lift caps on defense and domestic spending and break the cycle of temporary measures. The deal has some cuts to offset about $100 billion of the additional spending. The deal would also suspend the debt limit until March 2019.

"I'm optimistic that very soon we'll be able to reach an agreement", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "No one would suggest it was flawless, but we worked hard to find common ground and stay focused on serving the American people", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

The New York Democrat cited a letter he sent to Ryan past year with 44 Senate Democrats saying they would not support a cromnibus.

That includes $140 billion in emergency defense funding. "This still also increases budget caps, ends the sequester, and provides certainty for the next two years", she added.

I'm happy to announce that our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on defense spending and other priorities have yielded a significant agreement.

Schumer said in a conference call with NY reporters that he was able to negotiate the deal with McConnell because they wanted to work together in a bipartisan manner.

That idea, however, a nonstarter with Senate Democrats, who insist that increases to both the Pentagon and domestic programs advance at the same time.

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.

White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter stepped down a day after The Daily Mail, a British tabloid that covers the White House, published interviews with two of his ex-wives. Nondefense programs would receive about $60 billion over current levels. "Take an action that has bipartisan support". But the House is another matter.

Senate Democrats say the deal is far from ideal, but it largely settles the spending crises until the fall officially, but more likely until the lame-duck session between November's Election Day and January's seating of those elected in those contests.

"To summarize it: This spending bill is a debt junkie's dream", Brooks said.

Democrats seemed similarly conflicted.

Compelling moments from Larry Nassar's Eaton County sentencing hearing
She asked anyone who enabled Nassar to prey on young women for as long as he did to come forward and explain how that happened. Lou Anna Simon resigned as Michigan State's president on January 24 and athletic director Mark Hollis followed two days later.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has ended an eight-hour filibuster aimed at forcing a House vote on protections for young immigrants known as "Dreamers".

"Ryan is again considering a cromibus, a short-term extension of funding for urgent domestic priorities but a long-term extension and a large increase in funding for defense to placate the ultraconservatives in his caucus", Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said in floor remarks Monday before House GOP leaders had announced the plan.

The agreement also provides funds for disaster relief, infrastructure and programs addressing opioid abuse, the Senate leaders said. Ryan has not offered a similar pledge, but he has said he will bring an immigration deal to the floor when it's clear what the president will support.

DACA is the Obama-era program that shields those immigrants from deportation. But the president has sent dramatically conflicting signals about what kind of immigration bill he would support.

Immigration reform was a key point of debate during the previous government shutdown until Schumer secured votes to end the shutdown after McConnell promised a vote on DACA funding in the future.

Lawmakers face an imminent deadline.

President Trump tweeted his thumbs-up for a bipartisan budget deal hatched by Senate leaders Wednesday, signaling to House conservatives they should get behind the compromise.

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 find agreement on a full-year budget.

But there are still major steps that need to be taken, so expect an exciting next 48 hours.

A short-term spending measure in the House and a budget pact evolving in the Senate make it less likely the federal government will shut down Thursday night.

Many Democratic Senators want to challenge Trump, but many others will not put themselves on the record voting for an amnesty that can not become law - but which will be hung around their necks in their next election campaign.

"You look at it from a political strategic standpoint, the Democrats have made several bad decisions and several bad moves, notwithstanding from the shutdown we've talked about", Walker, R-N.C, said. "That's how strong this is for all of us in our caucus".

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