Congress to Vote on Trillion Dollar Spending Bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers on Monday unveiled a huge $1 trillion-plus spending bill that would fund most government operations through September but would deny President Donald Trump money for a border wall and rejects his proposed cuts to popular domestic programs.
The 1,665-page bill agreed to on Sunday is the product of weeks of negotiations. It was made public in the predawn hours Monday and is tentatively scheduled for a House vote on Wednesday.
The catchall spending bill would be the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to advance during Trump's short tenure in the White House. While losing on funding for the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump won a $15 billion down payment on his request to strengthen the military, though that too fell short of what he requested.
Vice President Mike Pence said the administration "couldn't be more pleased" and noted that it would include a boost in military spending, a "down payment" on border security and provide money for health benefits for coal miners.
"It will avert a government shutdown but more important than that, it's going to be a significant increase in military spending," Pence said in an interview with "CBS This Morning." He called it a "budget deal that's a bipartisan win for the American people."
The measure funds the remainder of the 2017 budget year, through Sept. 30, rejecting cuts to popular domestic programs targeted by Trump such as medical research, the Environmental Protection Agency, and infrastructure grants.
Democrats were quick to praise the deal.
"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., a key force in the talks. "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."
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., praised the bill as well, saying it "acts on President Trump's commitment to rebuild our military for the 21st century and bolster our nation's border security to protect our homeland."
Among the final issues resolved was a Democratic request to provide the cash-strapped government of Puerto Rico with $295 million to cope with its Medicaid burden, a top Pelosi priority. House Republicans succeeded in extending a private school vouchers program for students in Washington, D.C.'s troubled school system through 2019.
Democrats were successful in repelling many conservative policy "riders" that sought to overturn dozens of Obama-issued regulations. Such moves carry less urgency for Republicans now that Trump controls the regulatory apparatus.
GOP leaders decided against trying to use the must-do spending bill to "defund" Planned Parenthood. The White House also backed away from language to take away grants from "sanctuary cities" that do not share information about people's immigration status with federal authorities. Trump's request for additional immigration agents was denied and the IRS budget would be frozen at $11.6 billion instead of absorbing cuts sought by Republicans.