Congress details $1.3T spending deal ahead of shutdown deadline

U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Bjoertvedt

Dec. 17 (UPI) — Congressional negotiators finalized a $1.3 trillion spending deal on Monday with a deadline to fund the government shutdown looming at the end of the week.

Lawmakers released the details of the deal that would provide more money for federal workers and gun violence research while keeping funding for a physical barrier at the U.S.-Mexico border unchanged.

The House plans to pass the fiscal 2020 spending bills in a pair of packages later this week with one containing four bills to fund Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce-Justice-Science and Financial Services, while the other would provide funding to Agriculture, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, Interior, Transportation Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and State and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The deal provides $7.6 billion in funding for the 2020 Census, a $208 million increase in funding for the EPA, a $22 billion increase in funding for the Department of Defense and a 3.1 percent pay raise for civilian federal employees.

“Federal employees have many allies in Congress, and we commend all of them for their persistence in getting House and Senate negotiators to include the average 3.1 percent raise in their final compromise spending agreement,” National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon said.

An additional $25 million would be provided for research into gun violence while funding for a border wall, which was at the center of the record 35-day shutdown last year, would remain at its previous total of $1.375 billion.

It also includes provisions to raise the national age for tobacco sales to 21, reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States and permanently repeal three Affordable Care Act taxes.

Congress is expected to pass the bill and send it to President Donald Trump’s desk before the week. If signed it would avoid a government shutdown and provide federal funding through October.


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