Senate leaders agree to 2-year spending deal worth $400B

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reached a two-year budget agreement on Wednesday with Minority Leader Charles Schumer. The proposal must now be reconciled with the House before a final bill can be sent to the president's desk. Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI

Feb. 7 (UPI) — Senate leaders announced a budget deal Wednesday to increase federal spending by about $400 billion over two years — a proposal that’s almost sure to face significant resistance in the House.

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. The deal includes similar spending levels for 2019.

The bill also calls for the lifting of limits on federal spending, which would allow the repeating increases in defense and domestic budgets.

The full Senate is expected to vote on the deal Wednesday afternoon.

“This bill represents a significant, bipartisan step forward. I urge every Senator to review this legislation and join in voting to advance it,” McConnell said.

“For the first time in years, our military will have the resources needed to keep us safe.”

“We have reached a two-year budget deal that will benefit our country in so many ways,” Schumer said. “The budget deal will bring relief to folks caught in the grips of opioid addiction.”

The agreement also includes disaster relief for areas still coping with hurricane and wildfire cleanup efforts and additional funding for opioid treatment, each a priority for Democrats.

Schumer addressed the Senate to announce the agreement early Wednesday afternoon, noting the inclusion of several of the Democrats’ demands. 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 Senate bill makes no reference to protected, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, known as Dreamers.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she wouldn’t support any budget bill unless House Speaker Paul Ryan includes legislation for DACA recipients. Many other House Democrats are expected to follow suit.

“This morning, we took a measure of our Caucus because the package does nothing to advance bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers in the House. Without a commitment from Speaker Ryan comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Current funding for the government expires at midnight Thursday.

“I’m confident there’s not going to be a government shutdown, and there shouldn’t be,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said earlier.

The House passed a short-term budget deal Tuesday, which is separate from the Senate’s agreement. Both houses will have to agree on one spending bill to send it to President Donald Trump — and Pelosi’s remarks indicate that the Senate proposal may face tough opposition in the lower chamber.

Some conservative House Republicans object to the the increased spending, while Democrats in the chamber want assurances on immigration. Trump has pledged to end DACA next month — potentially leading to an untold number deportations — unless the Obama-era program is reformed by Congress.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here