Congress set to vote on bipartisan spending package


U.S. Senate leaders, in a rare bipartisan compromise, reached a deal on Wednesday to raise spending on military and domestic programs by nearly $300 billion over the next two years, but the agreement infuriated some fiscal conservatives.

President Trump tweeted his thumbs-up for a bipartisan budget deal hatched by Senate leaders Wednesday, signaling to House conservatives they should get behind the compromise.

The two-year deal, which would increase current spending caps by roughly $300 billion, would include a major boost for military spending, with slightly smaller increases for domestic programs.

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell announced the plan following extensive negotiations with Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer. She and some Democrats say without a commitment from House Speaker Paul Ryan to put the DACA immigration issue to a vote, they won't support the bill.

Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi gave the longest speech in House history yesterday, speaking for eight hours without a break on the topic of immigration reform.

The agreement is likely to be added to a stopgap spending bill, aimed at averting a government shutdown Thursday at midnight.

"I'm confident there's not going to be a government shutdown, and there shouldn't be", Sen. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said the deal will provide the island $2 billion to rebuild its hurricane-damaged electricity system, part of a $6.8 billion package for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"It's not like Republicans aren't concerned about disaster relief, or Republicans aren't concerned about funding community health centres or dealing with the opioid crisis", said Republican Congressman Warren Davidson. Trump threatened on Tuesday to upend budget talks by saying he would welcome a government shutdown if Congress were not able to agree to changes in immigration law that he said would prevent criminals from entering the country.

The Senate bill makes no reference to protected, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, known as Dreamers.

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The higher defense spending should allow President Donald Trump to make good on a campaign promise for a US military build-up.

It's absolutely hilarious that a Republican Party that almost led the nation to default in a snit fit over the debt limit during Barack Obama's presidency now blithely raises it, and increases spending by $500 billion, soon after passing a budget-busting, deficit-exploding tax cut.

"The budget doesn't have everything Republicans want, or what Democrats want, but it has a great deal of what the American people want".

"I think we will", Mr Ryan told radio host Hugh Hewitt.

Schumer addressed the Senate to announce the agreement early Wednesday afternoon, noting the inclusion of several of the Democrats' demands.

According to the congressional official familiar with the agreement, the plan includes $20 billion for infrastructure over two years, including roads and drinking water. "Give us a vote, let the House work its will", said Pelosi.

It would increase defense spending 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. Along with President Donald Trump's tax cuts approved by Congress in December, the new round of spending would further add to the bulging federal deficit.

Democrats want to lift the spending limits on domestic spending so Congress can allocate more for health, education and other priorities; Republicans want a big increase in spending on defense.

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