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Bipartisan Deal to Avoid Shutdown: More Defense Spending, No Border Wall

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — The founder of the House Freedom Caucus predicted “you’re going to see a lot of conservatives be against” a new deal to keep the government open through Sept. 30.

The government was set to shut down last week, but President Trump signed a week-long short-term funding bill Friday night to give lawmakers more time to negotiate.

That agreement has both sides claiming victory, with Republicans trumpeting hikes in defense spending and Democrats saying they blocked Trump’s agenda, including the border wall.

“America will be stronger and safer because of this government funding bill,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement today. “It acts on President Trump’s commitment to rebuild our military for the 21st century and bolster our nation’s border security to protect our homeland.”

“Importantly, we have boosted resources for our defense needs without corresponding increases in non-defense spending, as Democrats had insisted upon for years,” he added. “At the same time, we are investing in the most critical needs of our communities, from disaster relief to the fight against the opioid epidemic.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said her party “eliminated more than 160 Republican poison pill riders, ranging from undermining a woman’s right to reproductive health to dismantling Dodd-Frank’s vital Wall Street consumer protections.”

“The omnibus does not fund President Trump’s immoral and unwise border wall or create a cruel new deportation force,” she added.

The $1 trillion-plus omnibus spending bill, all 1,665 pages, was released in the wee hours this morning and could come to the House floor for a vote as early as Wednesday.

The bill boosts supplemental defense spending by about half of what Trump sought and will give service members their largest raise in six years. Border funding consists of $1.5 billion for technological security systems and infrastructure repairs. It also renews the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program while increasing support for charter schools, and gives $68 million to local law enforcement agencies for protecting the Trump family. On abortion, the Hyde Amendment is maintained.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said it’s not good enough for House conservatives.

“Money goes to Planned Parenthood, as you said. Money continues to go to sanctuary cities but no money for the border wall,” Jordan told CNN this morning. “Why did we, last fall, do a short-term spending bill if we weren’t going to actually fight for the things we told the voters we were going to fight for? So we’d have been, I mean, if this is the deal we’re going to get it seems to me we should have just did the bill for the whole year. But we specifically held the vote for — we did a short-term spending bill for this time so that when Republicans controlled the government, we could actually do the things we campaigned on.”

“This bill doesn’t seem to do that. Plus it maintains this idea that for every new dollar you spend in defense money you’ve got to give the Democrats more money in non-defense. That’s again not what we campaigned on,” he added.

“…I don’t think I’ll be voting for it. I think there will be a lot of conservatives who have problems with the legislation.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (R-N.Y.) praised the budget agreement as “a good agreement for the American people” 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,” Schumer said. “Early on in this debate, Democrats clearly laid out our principles. At the end of the day, this is an agreement that reflects those principles.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) focused on the bill’s permanent fix for retired coal miners’ health benefits that were in danger of expiring.

“The provision I secured in this legislation will protect and permanently extend healthcare benefits for thousands of retired coal miners and their families,” McConnell said in a statement. “I recognize that the extension of health benefits for this group of retirees will not address all of the challenges facing every Kentucky miner or retiree, but I am proud that it will help address many of the healthcare needs of thousands of miners who fell victim to the steep downturn in coal production.”