McConnell, Schumer Strike 2-Year Budget Deal to Avert Shutdown
WASHINGTON -- The day before what would have been another shutdown, Republicans and Democrats struck a 2-year, nearly $400 billion budget deal that upon passage will segue into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) promised DACA debate.
The deal removes sequestration budget caps for two years, increases defense spending and also boosts funding for domestic programs that were priorities for Democrats, such as opioid addiction programs. It also raises the debt ceiling until 2019.
It was unclear if the Senate deal will get enough support when it goes to the House.
"The compromise we’ve reached will ensure that, for the first time in years, our armed forces will have more of the resources they need to keep America safe. It will help us serve the veterans who have bravely served us. And it will ensure funding for important efforts such as disaster relief, infrastructure, and building on our work to fight opioid abuse and drug addiction," McConnell said on the Senate floor this afternoon.
“This bill is the product of extensive negotiations among Congressional leaders and the White House. No one would suggest it is perfect," he acknowledged. "But we worked hard to find common ground and stay focused on serving the American people... and the agreement will clear the way for new investment in our nation’s infrastructure -- a bipartisan priority shared by the president and lawmakers in both parties."
McConnell noted that after passage, the Appropriations committees "will have six weeks to negotiate detailed appropriations and deliver full funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018."
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he and McConnell "worked well together for the good of the American people."
"We had serious disagreements, but instead of just going to our own separate corners, we met in the middle and came together with an agreement that is very good for the American people and recognizes needs that both sides of the aisle proffered," Schumer said on the floor. "...After months of fiscal brinkmanship, this budget deal is the first real sprout of bipartisanship. And it should break the long cycle of spending crises that have snarled this Congress and hampered our middle class."
Along with various healthcare initiatives, programs benefiting from a $63 billion hike in non-defense domestic spending include $6 billion to fight the opioid and mental health crises, $5.8 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant program, $4 billion to improve veterans hospitals and clinics, $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $20 billion to augment existing infrastructure programs -- including the rural broadband development sought by Dems -- and $4 billion for college aid.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program got a four-year extension, and community health centers will see funding increases.