WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on Congress and spending legislation (all times local):
The Senate’s top Republican says there’s Senate agreement on a two-year, almost $400 billion budget deal that would provide Pentagon and domestic programs with huge spending increases.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the pact, joined on the Senate floor by top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York. It would contain almost $300 billion over current limits on defense and domestic accounts.
McConnell said the measure would rewrite existing defense limits that have “hamstrung our armed forces and jeopardized our national security.”
The measure, aides said, also contains almost $90 billion in overdue disaster aid and an increase in the government borrowing cap that would prevent a first-ever U.S. government default on its obligations.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she and many fellow Democrats will oppose an expected bipartisan budget deal unless Republicans allow the chamber to vote on legislation protecting immigrants.
The California Democrat’s remarks potentially jeopardize the prospects that Congress will pass legislation this week preventing a government shutdown starting after midnight Thursday.
The Senate’s two top leaders have been nearing a bipartisan deal that would avert a shutdown, provide spending boosts for the Pentagon and domestic programs over the next two years.
But Pelosi said on the House floor that because House Speaker Paul Ryan has yet to promise an immigration vote, the emerging budget pact “does not have my support, nor does it have the support of a large number of members of our caucus.”
A group of hard-right House conservatives opposes the big budget deal emerging in Congress, but the group’s leader says he expects it to pass anyway because of increases in defense and other spending that will appeal to many lawmakers.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said his Freedom Caucus will fight it, but “I’m afraid the numbers will get so high and the debt ceiling will get added and it will be a Christmas tree of spending – that a lot of votes will be bought.”
Meadows told MSNBC Wednesday that a bipartisan deal will draw “120 or 140 Democrats and maybe about the same on Republicans sending this to the president’s desk.”
The Freedom Caucus includes roughly three dozen GOP conservatives opposed to spending that balloons the federal deficit.
Congress is on the verge of a long-term budget pact that would provide whopping spending increases to the Pentagon and domestic federal programs, overdue disaster relief money and, perhaps, legislation to increase the government’s borrowing limit.
In the meantime, Congress is also working on a short-term spending measure to keep the government open past a Thursday night deadline.
A short-term spending measure in the House and a budget pact evolving in the Senate make it less likely the federal government will shut down Thursday night.
At the White House, President Donald Trump appeared to hold out the possibility of a shutdown if lawmakers don’t come up with a deal on immigration. Trump said Tuesday he’d “love to see a shutdown if we can’t get this stuff taken care of.”
The broader agreement in the Senate would award whopping spending increases to both the Pentagon and domestic federal programs, as well as approve overdue disaster relief money. It also might approve crucial legislation to increase the government’s borrowing limit to avoid possible default.
Democratic leaders have dropped their strategy of using the funding fight to extract concessions on immigration.