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by Daveda Gruber:

On Wednesday Republican and Democratic Senate leaders announced a budget agreement. It includes a big boost in spending for the Pentagon and would keep the government running past an ominous deadline.

It hasn’t been voted on, as of yet.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a floor speech,  “I am pleased to announce that our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on defense spending and other priorities have yielded a significant agreement.”

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said, “We have reached a budget deal that neither side loves, but both sides can be proud of.”

Congress has until February 8th to pass a spending bill. The deal would fund the government through March 23rd.

Congress would still have to pass another spending measure before that deadline.

The agreement announced Wednesday includes a longer-term pact to lift spending caps by roughly $400 billion for Pentagon and domestic programs over two years.

McConnell said this measure would rewrite existing defense limits that have “hamstrung our armed forces and jeopardized our national security.”

It is about time that we build up our military instead of depleting it.

This bill removes automatic spending cuts that are known as sequestration caps. This is for both defense and non-defense programs.

The caps were put in place in 2011. They were part of the ‘Budget Control Act’ to lift the debt limit. It didn’t really work.

The deal that would lift the debt limit also includes disaster relief for hurricane-stricken areas. It also includes a four-year extension of the ‘Children’s Health Insurance Program’ (CHIP).

This agreement does not tackle immigration. The emerging deal sets aside the question of immigration and what to do about the ‘Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals’ (DACA) program. It was at the heart of the standoff in January that ended in a three-day shutdown.

Congress is debating how to address those affected by the looming expiration of former President Barack Obama’s program, DACA.

The program gave a temporary deportation pardon to young illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

Democrats do not seem to have the same desire to go through with a government shutdown as they did two weeks ago. They are under less pressure from advocates to get a deal on DACA at any cost

McConnell has committed to a debate on immigration if the Senate is still open after February 8th.

Will there be another ‘Government Shutdown’?

On Tuesday night, ‘The House of Representatives’ approved their version of a stopgap spending bill to run the government through March 23 and strengthen defense funding.

The House’s top Democrat came out swinging against the latest plan.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California has said she would oppose the budget measure unless her chamber’s GOP leaders promised a vote on legislation to protect “Dreamer” immigrants.

Well Nancy, I don’t think that will happen.

I don’t think Democrats want another ‘Government Shutdown’. Would we call it a ‘Schumer Shutdown’ or a ‘Pelosi Shutdown’?

Time will tell. Congress has until midnight on Thursday to make a deal.

 


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