Senate leaders reach 2-year budget deal following months of talks

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By: Nancy Cordes | CBS News
February 7, 2018

Three months of budget talks bore fruit Wednesday as Senate leaders announced a long term deal to increase government funding. But it isn't sitting well with everyone, and now the question is whether they can round up the votes to pass it before government funding runs out Thursday night.

"I am pleased to announce that we have reached a two-year budget deal," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

The massive agreement directs relief to all corners, from a cash-strapped military to storm-ravaged states.

"This bill is the product of extensive negotiations," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said.

The bill addresses several looming crises. It funds the government for six weeks and raises federal budget caps for two years, with the increase divided almost equally between defense spending ($165 billion) and domestic spending ($131 billion).

The bill also lifts the nation's debt ceiling for a year and allocates $90 billion in emergency funds for areas hit by hurricanes and wildfires.

"I'll support it," Rep. Peter King, R-New York, said. "I think it's the best deal we can get. To me the main thing is funding the military."

Now GOP leaders must quell a conservative uprising. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, said the bill is "a debt junky's dream." Budget hawks balked at the new domestic funding demanded by Democrats.

"I don't know what kind of waste we've got to swallow in order to get an agreement on defense," Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, said.

And that's not the only wrinkle.

"This package cannot have my support," House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said. Pelosi is holding out for a promise from House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, on immigration.

"This is about the children," she said. "That's what we're asking for, just simply a vote."

Commandeering the House floor for more than eight hours Wednesday, Pelosi read letters from so called "Dreamers."

"'I learned English quickly. And dropped my Spanish accent,'" she read from one letter. "'DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] opened doors for me.'"

Pelsoi set a House record and earned applause from Democrats.

The question now is how many Democrats will follow her lead.

"This is a moral issue for many of us," Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-New York, said.

When asked if he's holding out for a promise, Crowley said he would "wait and see what they have to offer us. We haven't heard yet."

Here is the issue: the Senate's Republican leader has vowed to allow votes starting next week on bipartisan Dreamer legislation. Democrats worry that legislation will die in the House where Ryan has said he will only allow a vote on an immigration bill he knows President Trump will sign.



 
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