Senate leaders announce settlement on 2-year price range pact


The Senate's Republican and Democratic leaders unveiled a sweeping two-year budget agreement on Wednesday that would increase federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars on domestic and defense programs alike.

The proposal would lift caps on federal spending that were mandated under a 2011 law, boosting military and non-military funding by some $300 billion in total, aides said.

It would increase domestic spending by $131 billion and defense spending by $165 billion over the next two years, provide almost $90 billion in disaster aid and extend the debt limit for one year - until well after the midterm elections.

The deal would extend the Children's Health Insurance Program for 10 years, four more than the extension Congress just enacted.

Aside from the two-year deal that would have to be approved by the full Senate and House, lawmakers were also trying to reach agreement by Thursday to avoid a shutdown and fund the government until March 23.

Fiscal conservatives like the Freedom Caucus, have also indicated they will vote against the deal due to the increase in new government spending.

The new budget plan includes an extra $312 billion before 2019 to be directed toward both domestic programs, as sought by Democrats, and military funding, as promised by President Donald Trump.

"I don't think that's going to happen", McConnell said about the prospects of a shutdown. With 238 Republicans in the House, Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows predicted that 90-100 Republicans would oppose the deal with increased budget caps, which would mean that at least 75-80 Democrats are needed to vote for the bill in order to get to the votes to pass it.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said it was pleasing that Congress has been able to meet the Trump administration's defense spending requirement and come together on a two-year spending bill. Ryan could potentially have to rely on half of the House Democrats voting for the plan in order for it to pass.

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Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, also a member of the Problem Solvers, told CNN he'd be "uncomfortable" supporting the budget deal without that commitment - and that willingness to work on the issue is not enough.

On Tuesday, Trump injected uncertainty into the funding debate when he said he would "love" to see a shutdown if Democrats do not back his immigration demands.

With party unity fraying in the lower chamber over the deal, House Speaker Paul Ryan appeared to shrug off concerns that several Republicans might oppose the deal. The agreement includes spending on a variety of other needs, including disaster aid to respond to recent natural disasters.

"The commitment to invest $6 billion over the next two years is a good start for OH communities in desperate need of resources to battle the opioid epidemic", said Sen.

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 Senate will vote first after its leaders agreed Wednesday on a bipartisan deal that does not include addressing contentious immigration topics.

For the moment, however, it is not entirely clear whether the House will accept the deal.

In addition, it would set aside $6 billion for funding opioid and mental health programs, including prevention and treatment initiatives.

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