Congressional negotiators reach bipartisan government spending deal
Last Updated May 1, 2017 3:50 AM EDT
Republican and Democratic negotiators on Capitol Hill struck a deal Sunday night over funding the government through September, three congressional aides confirmed to CBS News.
The legislation, known as an omnibus spending package, is expected to fund the government through the rest of fiscal 2017, which ends September 30. Lawmakers are expected to vote on the comprehensive measure this week before funding runs out Friday night. The package doesn't include any funding for the wall President Trump wants along the U.S.-Mexico border or a deportation force, according to a senior congressional aide. In fact, the legislation specifically states that there can't be construction of a new wall, the aide said. The White House backed off of its demand for wall funding last week after Democrats made it clear they would oppose any bill that includes it. Instead, it includes $1.5 billion for border security, which would cover technology and repairing existing infrastructure, which covers some of Mr. Trump's request.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said in a statement late Sunday that it's a \"good agreement\" that \"takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table.\"
\"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,\" he said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, of California, and the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Niti Lowey, of New York, also praised the bill, as did Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R, Miss.).
The bill provides $593 billion for defense, giving a nearly $20 billion boost over fiscal 2016 funding, aides said. This includes $516 billion in the base budget and more than $76 billion for the overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund used for U.S. military operations overseas.
The bill doesn't fulfill the administration's supplemental request for $18 billion in cuts for non-defense domestic programs, according to the senior aide, though a GOP aide disputed that characterization and said some of those cuts were already built into individual bills. CBS News reported earlier this month that negotiators were expected to ignore the $18 billion request, partially because it's so late into the fiscal year. Instead, the legislation includes spending boosts to domestic programs. If approved by Congress, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for example, would receive a $2 billion funding increase despite the president's request to cut it.
It includes a permanent funding fix for retired coal miners' health benefits, the senior aide said, as well as $295 million for Puerto Rico's Medicaid shortfall. There are no funding cuts to Planned Parenthood in the package, the aide added, and it would restore year-round Pell Grants.As for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) budget, the package would cut about $80 million from the $8 billion it received in fiscal 2016, which is a 1 percent reduction, a GOP aide said. Democrats are touting that as protecting 99 percent of the EPA budget..
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The agreement abides by the 2015 budget deal that alleviated federal spending caps that were put in place by a 2011 law.
Besides the border wall, negotiators overcame another major obstacle last week when the White House dropped its threat to halt Obamacare payments.
This comes after the House and Senate passed a short-term spending bill late last week, extending funding for one week to buy time to strike the deal on the larger package. If Congress is able to pass the omnibus this week, the next spending showdown is expected this fall, as they'll need to pass a new package by Oct. 1. Lawmakers will likely have to strike a budget deal to lift spending caps put in place by a 2011 law and then find a way to address raising the debt ceiling.