Senate Leaders Reveal Spending Deal As Shutdown Looms

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Congress has until Thursday to work out a spending bill in order to avoid another government shutdown.

Further, infrastructure projects and programs to fight opioid abuse would also receive funding.

Democrats do not hold a majority in the Senate, but they have power in this instance because the spending bill needed to fund the federal government requires 60 votes to pass the Senate, leaving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nine votes short.

The Democratic leader has dropped his push to use the budget talks to extract concessions on immigration from Republicans, leaving aside threats to shut down the government over the issue.

Experts say that there is little hope for the latest House defense spending bill in the Senate. Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., pitched the agreement to a divided GOP conference.

The House on Tuesday night voted 245-182 to fund a stopgap bill to keep the government running through March 23.

The accord would suspend the federal debt ceiling, which was expected to be reached at the beginning of March, through March 2019 - and thus after the 2018 mid-term elections - and it would increase defense spending for Fiscal 2018 by $80 billion and for Fiscal 2019 by another $85 billion. "Unfortunately last time, we had to have a shutdown".

Making an appearance in the White House briefing room, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said he felt happy that Congress recognises the "sobering effect" of budgetary uncertainty on America's military and on the men and women who provide for the nation's defence. All they have to do - I told him this at 11:00 a.m. this morning - give me 15 minutes to debate, 15 minutes to vote and we could have been done by noon. A budget agreement would nearly certainly mean that many Democrats would support it, thereby guaranteeing that there wouldn't be another shutdown.

On Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan gave his full support to the bill to try to rally others in chamber to also vote yes - saying the military is at risk without the money, while acknowledging the deal includes partisan compromises and isn't flawless.

"The budget deal does not have everything Democrats want, it does not have everything the Republicans want, but it has a great deal of what the American people want", Schumer said in his speech on the House Floor. I suspect we'll see a short-term continuing resolution again while Ryan figures out what to do. "Now we have Republicans hand in hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits".

The program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, protects immigrants who were brought into the country unlawfully as children from deportation.

Democrats like Pelosi are pushing for the bill to include provisions for "Dreamers" - immigrants brought illegally to the U.S.by their parents. "To me the main thing is funding the military".

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