McConnell and Schumer Propose the Biggest Spending Increase Since 2009

Irene MckinneyFeb 09, 2018

In addition to long-term military funding, the bill would allocate $131 billion to civilian programs, including $20 billion for infrastructure programs such as rural broadband, clean water, and roads.

The proposal would lift caps on federal spending that were mandated under a 2011 law, boosting military and non-military funding by some $300 billion in total, aides said.

Meanwhile, conservative House Republicans blasted the plan's calls for a almost $300 billion increase in federal spending over the next two years, raising concerns over federal deficits.

Do they give their support, given that there is increased funding for domestic issues like education and veterans affairs - a major victory considering Republicans ordinarily want to cut federal spending?

The agreement includes an additional four-year extension of funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, on top of the six-year extension that Congress approved last month, Schumer said.

The agreement also provides funds for disaster relief, infrastructure and programs addressing opioid abuse, the Senate leaders said. It would avoid another government shutdown by extending current spending levels until March 23.

The breakthrough came on the eve of a midnight Thursday deadline for Congress to pass a stopgap spending measure-its fifth since October-or once again turn the lights out on the federal government.

"Republicans and Democrats must support our troops and support this bill!" the Republican president said. The deal arrives after President Trump encouraged another shutdown if his hardline immigration demands were not met, but it appears that McConnell and Schumer are trying to keep the government chugging along, at least for the time being.

But that bill was thought to be largely dead on arrival since the Senate would negotiate its own deal, which the House would eventually accept.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday staged an eight-hour speech on the House floor in support of immigration legislation, including reading letters from Dreamers pleading to be allowed to stay in the United States.

"Without a commitment from Speaker Ryan, comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support", she said on Wednesday.

The Senate and the House were both expected to vote on the proposed deal on Thursday.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Wednesday he was encouraged by the deal.

"We have reached the budget deal that neither side loves but both sides can be proud of", he pointed out.

Raising the budget caps has been on the table for months but has always been entangled with the contentious immigration debate.

In an appeal to Democrats to vote for the budget deal, Ryan repeatedly said during a news conference that he would bring an immigration bill to the House floor after the spending measures are enacted. Democrats, like Pelosi has already shown, will assuredly use that leverage to force a commitment from Ryan and others on an immigration vote in the near future.

It remained unclear whether any of the competing proposals would be able to win the 60 votes necessary to advance in the 100-member Senate, clear the House and earn Trump's backing.

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