Senate Leaders Announce Two-Year Budget Deal

Senate leaders on both sides unveiled on Wednesday a massive two-year budget deal, which represents a significant victory for both Republicans and Democrats and could keep the government open after the deadline passes at the end of this week, CNN reports. It would also increase the federal government’s spending.

However, the bill still has yet to pass the House, where the prospects of it being approved are slim.

The deal was unveiled on the Senate floor by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. It is intended to increase military and non-defense spending by $300 billion in the course of two years and add over $80 billion in disaster relief. Another $160 billion would be allocated to the Pentagon and about $128 billion to non-defense programs.

“I am pleased to announce that our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on defense spending and other priorities have yielded a significant agreement,” McConnell said in his announcement.

Senators are planning to take up the House-passed budget continuing resolution on Thursday when they’ll most likely replace the House language with the Senate language.

The bill is expected to pass in the Senate, unlike in the House where the caps deal will likely need Democratic support. But, Democrats have been unwilling to give their support unless beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program are protected. For now, there is nothing to suggest that that will be the case.

On Wednesday evening, the effort got a boost from President Donald Trump who said it was “so important for our great Military. It ends the dangerous sequester and gives Secretary Mattis what he needs to keep America Great.” He further pointed out that both “Republicans and Democrats must support our troops and support this Bill!”

Two sources with direct knowledge said that the final deal will include some form of debt ceiling, but the timing must first be worked out. The White House has been pushing for an increase that would last two years, while Congressional negotiators for a less aggressive version.

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