The Senate reached a deal to fund the government for two years. The vote is scheduled for later today. The deal includes an increase in the debt ceiling through March 2019 and boosts both defense and non-defense spending. The deal would effectively solidify long-term funding and remove the week to week crisis funding through continuing resolutions every few weeks.
The senate bill removed language that essentially sheltered illegal aliens through the DACA program. Democrats have refused to discuss border security or reach a different deal on the DACA program. This point was the primary cause for the last government shutdown.
House conservatives were outraged against the raising of the debt ceiling and surpassing spending caps. Members of the tea-party backed freedom caucus have expressed outraged over aspects of the senate bill. Some have quipped that the GOP can no longer claim to be the fiscally conservative party and support a deal that increases spending and the national debt. This was the war cry for Republicans against the Democrats in the previous president’s administration.
The senate deal specifically would increase spending for defense by $80 billion this year and $85 billion in 2019.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell boasted that the increase in defense spending was an accomplishment. The bill further provides an overall $700 billion for defense spending in 2018. It provides a cap on non-defense spending at $131 billion, over double the amount set in the 2011 Budget Control Act. It would be $117 billion higher than the President’s budget request for 2018.
The senate bill also includes funding to continue the CHIP program, Children’s Health Insurance Program, for an additional four years, $7 billion in community health center funding, with $6 billion ear-marked to fight opioid addiction.
Hailed a bi-partisan deal, not all Republicans will vote for the bill, assuming the House passes the same bill.
The deadline is February 8 to reach an agreement and submit to the president
Earlier this week the house reached and passed a continuing resolution. The CR passed 245-182 and like the senate bill, increases the government funding through March 23, funds the Defense spending through the balance of fiscal year 2018 and funds community health centers for two years. If the CR is agreed upon by the senate it will be the fifth CR passed since September.
House conservatives have expressed concerns and opposition to the Senate Bill. The opposition will require over a dozen democrat votes to pass. Either deal may be attractive to democrats due to the support of democrat priorities such as community health center funding and other domestic programs. The House’s CR is unlikely to gain a majority of support in the Senate.
The primary leverage the democrats are using is DACA support and immigration reform. The democrats have refused to have a debate and reach a separate deal to address those issues following their commitment to do so and end the last shutdown weeks ago. This stubbornness is in response to the democrat’s base in anger for not taking a stand in previous CRs and budget discussions. The democrats are using the legislative session to solidify votes to have a sweep during the upcoming mid-term elections.
Nancy Pelosi (D-C.A) set a record February 7th for the longest house speech in history. The speech, eight-hours and seven-minutes in length was a brilliant display of endurance by Pelosi, 77-years old. Her speech included bible passages and focused on the sanctity of life to secure protections for illegal aliens brought to the US, some decades ago, by their parents.
The show goes on as both chambers debate and work to avoid another government shutdown, later today.