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Breakthrough in budget negotiations could raise spending for science

09 February 2018

"The budget deal doesn't have everything Democrats want; it doesn't have everything the Republicans want, but it has what the American people need", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

The New York Times also reported the budget cap for military spending would be raised by about $80 billion in FY 2018 and $85 billion in FY 2019. The agreement covers a broad range, including increasing military and domestic spending, raising the debt ceiling and providing expanded disaster relief funding.

The deal would also suspend the debt limit until March 2019.

The Senate is expected Thursday to decide on the budget deal and another continuing resolution that would keep agencies operational through March 23, the report added.

The agreement, backed by Republican President Donald Trump, disappointed conservative House Republicans and outside groups. It does not include any immigration agreement to give amnesty to DACA recipients.

The Senate is now expected to rewrite that measure, pass it and send it back for House approval before Thursday's funding deadline-provided there are no efforts to slow the process in the Senate.

Other federal health programs, including teaching health centers and the National Health Service Corps., would receive $363 million and $495 million in funding appropriations from the budget deal, respectively.

Pelosi says she hopes the House follows the Senate's example and takes up an immigration bill.

Congress has until midnight to pass a spending plan to avoid a government shutdown.

A senior congressional aide said that amount of additional spending would not be offset by any spending cuts or new tax revenue, meaning an increase in the federal deficit.

"No one would suggest it's flawless, but we worked hard to find common ground and stay focused on serving the American people", McConnell said Wednesday. With Republicans in control of the House, the Senate and the White House, the fifth short-term spending bill demonstrated their "failure to govern", she said. But after surveying the Democratic caucus, she said the absence of immigration legislation was a deal breaker for some members.

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.

The immigration debate drove the shutdown last month, as Democrats pushed McConnell to agree to prioritize the issue, but it had not been part of more recent budget negotiations, despite Trump's nudging.

With midterm elections looming, however, it's likely that enough legislators on both sides of the aisle will welcome a two-year reprieve after months of shutdown drama. To secure that money, however, Republicans had to dangle $128 billion in domestic spending. That the deal raises defense-spending caps by $160 billion is welcome news; the military has been painfully squeezed by the sequester, and restoring its funding to proper levels would be a significant achievement.

The measure represents a bitter defeat for many liberal Democrats who sought to use the party's leverage on the budget to resolve the plight of immigrant "Dreamers" who face deportation after being brought to the USA illegally as children.

"This spending bill is a debt junkie's dream", Republican legislator Mo Brooks said, as reported by the Washington Post this week. Democrats strongly oppose that measure because they say it short shrifts domestic spending.

Minority leader Nancy Pelosi delivered a record-breaking eight hour speech, demanding that the House speaker hold a vote on a separate bill.

The budget agreement "does not have my support, nor does it have the support of a large number of members of our caucus", Pelosi said, as reported by AP.

Breakthrough in budget negotiations could raise spending for science