Senate leadership finally agreed on a budget deal Wednesday, which could provide some financial peace in Washington, but at a cost some fiscal conservatives believe is too high.
While the Senate has come to an agreement, there is much more opposition in the House, both from Democrats and Republicans, putting the passage of the bill in some doubt. Many House Democrats are upset that the bill does not address the ongoing fight over immigration, while conservative House Republican budget hawks are upset about the increased spending levels.
The bill is expected to be voted on Thursday. If it — or a separate temporary funding measure — isn’t passed by the end of the day, the government will shut down again.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the bill a “deal that neither side loves, but both sides can be proud of.”
What are the details?
The two-year deal would raise spending caps by about $300 billion over two years:
- $80 billion increase on military this fiscal year and $85 billion increase next year
- $63 billion increase on non-defense spending this year and $68 billion next year
According to Schumer, the deal includes:
- $20 billion for infrastructure
- $6 billion for the opioid crisis and mental health
- $5.8 billion for child care
- $4 billion for veterans hospitals and clinics
- $90 billion in disaster relief
The deal would also:
- Extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program for four more years past the six-year extension approved last month
- Lift the debt limit until March 2019
- Pass a stopgap spending measure keeping the government open at least until March 23
What are supporters saying?
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “…thanks to President Trump, we can now have the strongest military we have ever had.”
President Donald Trump: “The budget agreement today is so important for our great military. It ends the dangerous sequester and gives Secretary Mattis what he needs to keep America great. Republicans and Democrats must support our troops and support this bill!”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): “I hope we can build on this bipartisan momentum and make 2018 a year of significant achievement for Congress, for our constituents and for the country we all love.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.): “America will be safer and stronger because of this agreement.”
What are opponents saying?
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.): “This is a dead-end path that will cause great hardship to Americans. And if you really look it out long term and see the cascading effects, it is going to cost a lot of Americans their lives.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah): “…a betrayal of everything limited government conservatism stands for.”
Maya McGuinness, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: “This deal represents budgeting at its worst — each party is giving the other its wish list with all the bells and whistles included and asking future generations to pick up the tab.”
What about immigration?
A deal to protect the "Dreamers" in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is not included in this measure, much to the chagrin of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who launched a filibuster of sorts for more than eight hours Wednesday in a marathon speech about the Dreamers.
“Without that commitment [to an immigration deal] from Speaker Ryan, comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support, nor does it have the support of a large number of members of our caucus,” Pelosi said.