U.S. Congressional Talks Yield Deal To Fund Government Through September

Lauren Perry
May 3, 2017

Republican and Democratic lawmakers have reportedly reach an agreement to continue funding the government through September with a massive $1 trillion spending bill - but it lacks numerous items that President Donald Trump wanted to see included.

Congress is expected to vote this week on the new bill, which provides $1.163 trillion in overall federal spending, ahead of a Friday night deadline when government funding would expire absent a new agreement. If Congress is able to pass the omnibus this week, the next spending showdown is expected this fall, as they'll need to pass a new package by October 1. Though Trump frequently said the wall would be funded by Mexico while he running for president, once he took office that changed to America paying for the wall now, and "eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall", according to a confusingly worded April 23 tweet.

The newly-unveiled congressional deal includes Trump's call for increased military spending, but rejects his demand to fund a border wall and maintains spending levels for key government operations including the State Department that he had proposed gutting.

Last week, White House aides acknowledged the administration could wait until later this year or next year to consider funding for the wall.

Trump's other major priority, a cut in funding for so-called sanctuary cities, was also dropped from the legislation.

Congress was expected to vote early this week on the agreement, which is expected to include increases for defence spending and border security, The Washington Post reported.

"This agreement is a good agreement for the American people, and takes the threat of a government shut down off the table", CNN quoted the New York Democrat as saying. The White House backed off of demand for wall funding last week after Democrats made it clear that they would oppose any bill that includes it. Vice President Mike Pence said the bill is a "bipartisan win" that will be a "significant increase in military spending". It gives $1.5 billion to border security, but that's half of the $3 billion Trump wanted and does not fund the wall. And they agreed to increase funding to address the nation's opioid addiction crisis by $650 million for 2017.

"Republicans in the leadership of both chambers actually hate that idea". To avoid a government shutdown, Congress must pass the bill by midnight on Friday.

Among the final issues resolved was a Democratic request to help the cash-strapped government of Puerto Rico with its Medicaid burden, a top Pelosi priority.

At the heart of my administration's efforts to restore the rule of law, has been a nationwide crackdown on criminal gangs, and that means taking the fight to the sanctuary cities that shield that's risky criminals from removal. As a result, the measure doesn't look much different than the deal that could have been struck on President Barack Obama's watch a year ago.

Coal miners and their families facing the loss of health insurance next month would get a permanent renewal under the spending bill.

The military will receive a $15 billion boost and border security will receive $1.5 billion more. And it includes $2 billion in extra funding for the National Institutes of Health, which Democrats were pushing for, according to a source with the Senate Appropriations Committee. Increases include almost $1 billion in famine relief to combat starvation in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.

"We're getting closer and closer every day, but we're not there yet", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said when asked if there are enough votes in the House to put a bill on the floor.

Other reports by VgToday

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