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McConnell tees up budget deal

08 February 2018

Senate leaders unveiled a massive two-year budget deal Wednesday, a major victory for both parties that could prevent a government shutdown at the end of this week and increase the federal government's spending.

The package would boost USA government spending on national defense and domestic programs by $300 billion over a two-year period, ending years of mandatory budget caps Republicans argued were hollowing out America's military and Democrats said were harming the needy.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican who has backed the agreement, said on Thursday he believed the chamber will pass the budget deal.

Pelosi filibustered House business for over eight hours with a marathon floor speech demanding a vote on DACA.

The bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, where Democrats are hoping to amend it with the McConnell-Schumer deal and send it back to the House.

At midnight on January 18, 2018, Congress and the President failed to come to a consensus on a spending bill for the new fiscal year resulting in a shutdown of the federal government.

Passage of the plan would ease the brinkmanship over spending that roils Washington so regularly that financial markets barely flinch anymore at the threat of a government shutdown.

Schumer said congressional leaders struck the deal "without a great deal of help from the White House".

McConnell has promised Democrats he would allow a free-flowing Senate debate on immigration by February 8 and that he would not try to influence the outcome.

Also, Congress needs to raise the borrowing limit in March.

"Speaker Ryan has already repeatedly stated we intend to do a DACA and immigration reform bill - one that the president supports", Strong said in an email to USA TODAY.

Schumer said the agreement would include an increase for Democrats' priorities in domestic programs, such as addressing the opioid crisis and broadband infrastructure, and Republicans' demands for a boost in military spending.

Non-defense spending would rise by US$63 billion this year and US$68 billion next year.

The Senate could turn around and come up with a spending plan that increases the mandatory caps on defense and non-defense spending, allowing the government to stay open and setting up a broader deal on the exact allocation of increased funding in the next few weeks.

While the Senate has an agreement, that's not the case in the house.

Though the Senate debate over immigration policy was blamed for last month's three-day government shutdown, Schumer and McConnell say it is not part of current spending negotiations and will be postponed until week.

"This morning, we took a measure of our Caucus because the package does nothing to advance bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers in the House", Pelosi said in a statement.

"The budget deal doesn't have everything Democrats want".

The legislation also would authorize the energy department to make sales from the nation's strategic petroleum reserve, extend financing for community health care centers for two years and make modifications to medicare, such as repealing a payment cap for therapy services.

McConnell tees up budget deal