Senate agrees to 2-year budget deal: Raises spending cap, suspends debt ceiling, funds military spending

With a looming midnight deadline to avoid another government shutdown, the standoff of the last few months seems to have come to an end as Senate leaders arrived at an agreement on a new budget deal.

The bipartisan two-year budget deal, the largest of President Trump’s administration, is expected to be voted on Thursday before the deadline, raising the debt ceiling until March 2019, The Hill reported.

With support from Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, the bill should have no problem getting through the Senate though its fate in the House is questionable.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who spent hours rambling on the House floor in the chamber’s longest speech in history, plans to vote against the bill because it does not address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

“I know that there is a real commitment to solving the DACA challenge in both political parties. That’s a commitment that I share,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday on Capitol Hill. “To anyone who doubts my intention to solve this problem and bring up a DACA and immigration reform bill: do not.”

The bill will lift budget caps by about $300 billion over two years,

According to The Hill:

The measure raises the cap on defense discretionary spending by $80 billion in fiscal year 2018 and $85 billion in fiscal year 2019.

It also provides $71 billion in emergency or overseas contingency funding for 2018 and $69 billion for 2019, bringing total defense spending for those two years to $700 billion and $716 billion, respectively.

It raises the cap on non-defense domestic discretionary spending by $63 billion in fiscal year 2018 and $68 billion in fiscal year 2019.

It fully repeals the automatic spending caps known as sequestration for non-defense programs. Counting the repeal of the sequester cut and $57 billion in new spending, it represents a $131 billion increase for non-defense programs.

 

President Trump called on support for the bill which “gives Secretary Mattis what he needs to keep America Great.”

More than $80 billion in disaster relief is provided for Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and areas affected by hurricanes and wildfires. This amount will include $2 billion to aid Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in rebuilding power grids as well as $4.9 billion in Medicaid funds following the devastation caused in the areas by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Appropriations committees will determine how to spend the specific funds as $20 billion is set for new infrastructure investment, and $6 billion is allotted over two years to combat opioid and substance abuse, addressing a push by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, to deal with what he sees as a national crisis.

The budget deal will provide $4 billion over two years to address the backlog of an excess of 400,000 claims at the Veterans Administration, making good on one of Trump’s campaign promises to improve the care of those who served in the military.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The measure will repeal ObamaCare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board which was never implemented and will extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program by four years. CHIP was authorized for six years as part of last month’s deal ending the government shutdown, though Democrats had been pushing for a 10-year extension, according to The Hill.

“American families with children who benefit with CHIP will now be able to rest easy for the next decade,” Schumer said Wednesday.

The bill will provide $620 million over two years to the National Health Service Corps, and another $253 million over two years to teaching health centers. The Medicare Part D “donut hole” for seniors will also

Special committees will also be established to work on budget and appropriations reform as well as pensions reform.

“I am pleased to announce that our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on defense spending and other priorities have yielded a significant agreement,” McConnell said in announcing the deal with Schumer on the Senate floor.

Comments

Related Posts