UPDATE: Senate passes FY 2017 budget, sends to Trump for approval

UPDATE 2 — 5/4, 2:38 p.m. EDT: The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the fiscal year 2017 budget bill on Thursday in 79–18 vote, avoiding a government shutdown.

A far cry from the conservative White House budget outline released in April, House Appropriations Committee member David Price (D-N.C.) said “Tea Party” Republicans were to blame.

“They won’t vote for anything,” Price said. “And they therefore made it essential for (GOP) leadership to come to Democrats.”

 

UPDATE — 5/3, 4:27 p.m. EDT: The House of Representatives passed a $1.1 trillion spending package to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2017 on Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 309–118.

The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration. Congress’ upper chamber has until midnight Friday to pass the so-called omnibus before a partial government shutdown goes into effect.

 

Seeking to avert another looming government shutdown, a bi-partisan budget deal was reached on Capitol Hill late Sunday evening which will fund the federal government with over $1 trillion for the remainder of fiscal year 2017.

Made public early Monday, the 1,665-page “omnibus” is expected to pass a scheduled vote in the House Wednesday, before heading to the Senate for final congressional approval late in the week. The agreement reportedly includes up to $15 billion spending increase for the Pentagon — $2.5 billion of which will only be released when a plan to defeat ISIS is presented — half of what the president had asked for.

The agreement also includes a small jump in domestic appropriations, including an additional $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $100 million for the opioid crisis and $295 million to bailout Puerto Rico’s Medicaid fund. The spending measure also calls for funding many EPA programs the White House had proposed to cut.

Despite losing out on $1.4 billion in border wall funding, President Trump’s request for $1.5 billion for other border security measures is included in the spending bill, as are seemingly bi-partisan measures to provide $8.1 billion in disaster relief funds to a handful of states and a permanent extension of healthcare benefits to coal miners injured on the job.

“This agreement is a good agreement for the American people, and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).  “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.”

Not included in the bill was language favored by some conservative Republicans, such as the defunding of Planned Parenthood and federal money being withheld from so-called “sanctuary cities”.  A White House request for funds to hire more ICE agents was also denied by Congress.

Despite tepid support from most Democrats, House Freedom Caucus member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was less than enthusiastic about the announced spending plan.

“I think you’re going to see conservatives have some real concerns with this legislation,” he told CNN. “We told (voters) we were going to do a short-term spending bill that was going to come due at the end of April so that we could fight on these very issues, and now it looks like we’re not going to do that.”

Despite criticism from congressional budget hawks, Vice President Mike Pence praised the agreement Monday in a CBS interview.

“We couldn’t be more pleased,” he said, calling the bill “a bipartisan win for the American people”.

 

[AP] [Politico] [Washington Post] [Reuters] [Politico] [Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images via U.S. News & World Report]

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