Congressional negotiators reach deal on government funding through September
Bipartisan congressional negotiators reached a critical agreement late Sunday on a massive spending bill that if approved by the House and Senate would fund the government through the end of September, senior aides from both parties told CNN.
The plan would add billions for the Pentagon and border security but would not provide any money for President Donald Trump’s promised border wall with Mexico,
Votes in both chambers are expected by the end of the week.
The deal was reached after weeks of tense but steady negotiations between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill and the White House, who battled over spending priorities but who were equally determined to avoid a politically fraught government shutdown. Republicans, who control Congress and the White House, were particularly wary of a shutdown on their watch.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a statement Sunday evening saying the agreement is consistent with his party’s principles.
“This agreement is a good agreement for the American people, and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table,” the New York Democrat said in a statement. “The bill ensures taxpayer dollars aren’t used to fund an ineffective border wall, excludes poison pill riders, and increases investments in programs that the middle-class relies on, like medical research, education, and infrastructure.
Trump’s demand for the border wall down payment was rejected by Democrats. They decried the controversial project — and key Trump campaign promise — as immoral and premature since Trump has not detailed plans for building the multibillion dollar wall he had vowed Mexico would pay for anyway.
Talks were also stalled over a threat by Trump to cut off Obamacare subsidies paid to insurance companies to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses of some lower-income users of the Affordable Care Act, but Trump backed off that demand in the face of harsh criticism from Democrats.
The subsidies will stay in place as Republicans continue their long-stalled effort to repeal Obamacare, something Trump and his aides hope to revive as early as this week.
The bill does provide billions in new funds for the Pentagon and increases domestic spending too. It continues funding for Planned Parenthood, despite GOP promises to defund the abortion provider.
The deal means a government shutdown next Friday, when agencies are set to run out of money, is unlikely. Last Friday, Congress pass a one-week stopgap spending bill when it became clear negotiators needed a bit more time to finalize an agreement.
This story has been updated and will be updated to include new developments.