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US Senate passes funding bill in bid to end shutdown

US Senate passes funding bill in bid to end shutdown

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California demanded a similar promise from Speaker Paul Ryan.

In debate on the House floor, most Democrats focused on the issue of DACA and the Dreamers, demanding a vote on legislation dealing with that immigration matter.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management sent an email to federal government employees at 12:06 a.m. citing the expiry of funding and advising them to consult their agencies "for guidance on reporting for duty". "Our sense is (GOP leaders) don't have the votes". That nearly certainly means a big increase in the annual deficit brought on by higher spending combined with lower revenue from the recent tax cut bill (it's already set to quadruple because of the lost revenue, back to around a trillion dollars a year). She says it should be "bipartisan, transparent and unifying".

The budget bill, which was unveiled by Republican and Democratic senators on Wednesday, was welcomed as a rare showing of political cooperation in Washington, which has been plagued by months of squabbling.

"It provides what the Pentagon needs to restore our military's edge for years to come, " said Ryan.

The Washington Post reports that Donald Trump has endorsed the contents of the agreement, calling on lawmakers of both parties to "support our troops and support this Bill!"

Defense spending would increase by $80 billion over current law in this fiscal year and $85 billion in the one that begins October 1, according to a congressional official familiar with the plan. "Next year defense spending will increase by $85 billion and domestic funding will be boosted by $68 billion beyond the caps". Nondefense programs would receive about $60 billion over current levels.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer declared that the Senate entered "risky territory".

With all of the various battle lines being drawn and hard stances being taken, it would surprise no one if the budget plan that should pass smoothly through the Senate hits more than one snag in the House.

"There's a considerable irony here that there's so many good things in the bill and yet there's an outstanding issue that's very stubborn", said Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., ranking member of the Appropriations Committee.

"I'm not only a no, I'm a hell no", complained Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., who said the budget compromise would lead to trillion dollar deficits.

When it became apparent that no budget bill could pass the Senate without Democratic support, nor for that matter clear the House, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky entered into an unholy alliance with Democratic Leader Charles Schumer of NY that has Republican budget hawks screaming bloody murder.

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"No one would suggest it's flawless, but we worked hard to find common ground", McConnell said in a speech announcing the deal. At the same time, many liberal Democrats wanted to withhold their support as leverage to win concessions on immigration policy.

"I am confident that no senator on either side of the aisle believes this is a flawless bill", McConnell said.

The rebellion that simmered among Republicans and Democrats over the budget agreement boiled over when a determined Paul brought the Senate's work to a halt.

US lawmakers are set to vote Thursday on a budget plan that would keep the federal government funded for two years and avoid another shutdown.

McConnell said the measure would rewrite existing defense limits that have "hamstrung our armed forces and jeopardized our national security". The upper chamber of Congress closed up shop late yesterday and scheduled a reopening for a new session at 12:01 am tomorrow when it will launch a new effort to pass the bill to extend government funding.

The plan to keep the government operating and to increase spending over the next two years faced resistance from conservatives in the Republican Party, who favor less spending on domestic government programs.

"I can't in all good honesty and all good faith just look the other way because my party is now complicit in the deficits", Paul said.

Trump threatened on Tuesday to upend budget talks, saying he would welcome a government shutdown if Congress were not able to agree to changes in immigration law that he said would prevent criminals from entering the country. "So if we can negotiate a deal like I think we've gotten that essentially meets every other one of our priorities then I think that's where a lot of the Democrats are".

House Speaker Paul Ryan appeared to shrug off concerns that several Republicans as well as Democrats might oppose the deal.

The deal is attached to a short-term spending bill that will fund the government through March 23.

A visibly annoyed Majority Whip John Cornyn said Paul "will effectively shut down the federal government for no real reason". "These young people are going to get what they deserve and what we have promised, which is an opportunity to have the Senate vote on various proposals".

In addition, it would set aside $6 billion for funding opioid and mental health programs, including prevention and treatment initiatives.


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