US Congress Races to Pass $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill

U.S. congressional leaders appeared Wednesday to have reached a deal on a $1.3 trillion spending bill as a budget deadline loomed. 

The bipartisan bill, which would keep the government funded until the end of September, has President Donald Trump’s support, the White House said in a statement.

“The president had a discussion with [House] Speaker [Paul] Ryan and [Senate Majority] Leader [Mitch] McConnell, where they talked about their shared priorities secured in the omnibus spending bill,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. 

Deadline late Friday

Negotiators planned to unveil the spending bill later in the day in hopes of passing it before a Friday midnight deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

The bill will give Trump a huge budget increase for the military, including a 2.4 percent pay raise for military personnel.

It also will include a measure strengthening the federal background check system for gun purchases.

WATCH: Federal Budget Explainer

The measure would provide funding for states to comply with the existing National Instant Criminal Background Check System and penalize federal agencies that don’t comply.

It also will provide money to improve school safety. The funds would go toward training school officials and law enforcement officers how to identify signs of potential violence and intervene early, and installing metal detectors and other steps to “harden” schools to prevent violence. 

GOP aides said Trump would win $1.6 billion for a wall and physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. But Trump would be denied a far larger $25 billion request for multiyear funding for the project. 

To the Democrats’ disappointment, the bill offers no protections for so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. 

No insurer subsidies

It also won’t provide subsidies to health care insurers who cut costs for low-earning customers. And it won’t provide federal payments to carriers to help them afford to cover their costliest clients.

Both parties touted the $4.6 billion in total funding to fight the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic, and a record $3 billion increase for medical research at the National Institutes of Health.

The House is expected to vote on the bill by Thursday, followed quickly by the Senate, to meet Friday’s midnight deadline.

March 22nd, 2018 by
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