Congress settles on $1 trillion budget
- Author: Leroy Wright May 02, 2017,
May 02, 2017, 11:44
Congressional Republicans and Democrats have forged a hard-won agreement on a huge one trillion dollar-plus (£800 billion) spending bill that would fund the day-to-day operations of the USA government through to September.
Negotiators released the 1,665-page bill after Republicans dropped numerous demands on the environment, Obama-era financial regulations and abortion in marathon sessions over the weekend.
The additional Pentagon funding adds to the $578 billion in defense spending included in the omnibus bill, which will get a vote this week ahead of a Friday deadline to prevent a government shutdown.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY called the deal "a good agreement for the American people" that "takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table". But Democrats pushed back and were hopeful that the measure would not contain many items they deemed "poison pills". While losing on funding for the wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, Trump won a $15 billion down payment on his request to strengthen the military, though that too fell short of what he requested.
Trump said at almost every campaign stop previous year that Mexico would pay for the proposed 2,000-mile border wall, a claim Mexican leaders have broadly rejected.
In a March budget proposal, the Trump administration sought to cut EPA funding by $2.6 billion. The $1.5 billion more toward border security also amounted to half the White House's request. "We're extremely grateful" to the leaders of the House and Senate committees that oversee NIH's budget, says Jennifer Zeitzer, director of legislative relations for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in Bethesda, Maryland.
Democrats stressed that there is no money not only for a border wall, but also for a deportation force, and they said there would be no cut in funding for so-called sanctuary cities.
Many popular postelection wagers took a hit last month after Republicans failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which highlighted the difficulties they could face advancing new legislation even while holding the White House and both houses of Congress.
That made the party out of power a major player in the negotiations.
The White House on Monday struggled to explain the president's assertion that the health care bill guaranteed coverage for people pre-existing conditions. House Republicans succeeded in extending a private school vouchers program for students in Washington, D.C.'s troubled school system through 2019.
The agreement also sets aside $20 million for the Trump administration to hire 10 more teams of immigration judges to speed up immigration reviews as well as $617 million to expand detention facilities that hold people caught crossing the border illegally.
-$6 billion for Army Corps of Engineers water and navigation projects, a 1 percent increase. The National Institute of Health, one of the domestic programs Trump sought to shift money away from, will see a two billion dollar infusion of cash. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., for instance, using his powerful post on the Appropriations panel to take the lead on a 40 percent boost in research on Alzheimer's disease. The Environmental Protection Agency, a department Trump would just as soon jettison, was left largely intact and given extra funding, according to the Washington Examiner, "toward science and clean energy", which you know will really chap the 45th president's hide. The legislation also includes funds to replenish health care benefits for certain miners and their families, combat opioid addiction and make infrastructure improvements.
One-hundred and sixty conservative priorities are dead ... and the Republicans are smiling and waving.
"I think you're going to see conservatives have some real concerns with this legislation", Rep. Jim Jordan of OH said, citing domestic spending obtained by Democrats and other issues.
Notably it includes no money for Trump's border wall.
For instance, the deal includes $1.5 billion for more border security, but the bill specifically states that the money can not be used to build a new border wall.
While the measure would peacefully end a battle over the current budget year, the upcoming cycle is sure to be even more hard.