US budget: Lawmakers to Approve Funding Package This Week


Congressional negotiators have reached an agreement on a spending bill to keep the US government running until 30 September.

The bipartisan deal boosts military spending but does not include funding for President Donald Trump’s proposed wall on the Mexico border.

The reported $1 trillion deal (£770bn) needs to be approved by lawmakers.

On Friday Congress approved a stop-gap spending bill that averted a government shutdown at midnight on that day.

That gave Congress one more week to work out federal spending for the last five months of the fiscal year.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the package in the coming days.

The failure to act would have closed national parks and monuments and laid off federal employees.

The last shutdown, in 2013, lasted for 17 days.

What is at stake?

Full details of the agreement on a spending bill are yet to be made public.

But US media reports that it gives President Donald Trump a $12.5bn increase in defence spending and another $1.5bn for border security.

White House proposals to cut popular programmes – such as funding medical research and community development grants – were rejected.

Democrats also fended off potential cuts to women’s healthcare provider Planned Parenthood.

New York City will reportedly receive a $68m boost for local law enforcement, in recompense for the cost of protecting President Trump and his family.

The deal also gives coal miners $1.3bn in health benefits, which will be funded by a rise in customs fees.

Why couldn’t Republicans just force it through?

There were a number of key disputes during tense negotiations, and Republicans – who control the Congress, Senate and White House – were forced to make concessions.

Democrats had leverage in the talks because their votes will be needed to pass the bill.

The Senate requires 60 votes to pass legislation, so the 52 Republicans there will need support from at least eight Democrats.

President Trump earlier had to yield to Democratic demands not to include funding for the proposed wall on the US-Mexico border in the spending bill.

Another concession was over Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

Mr Trump made scrapping it a key campaign pledge, but divisions among Republicans have so far prevented attempts to get his own health plan through Congress.

In a statement on Sunday evening, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called the deal “a good agreement for the American people” that “takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table”.

He said the measure would increase investment in medical research, education, and infrastructure.

“Reports that the package makes a major down payment towards the president’s security priorities are encouraging,” said John Czwartacki, a spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Source: BBC

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