Senate Leaders Reach Two-Year Budget Deal

Senate leaders reached an agreement on a two-year budget deal on Wednesday, adding billions of dollars in federal spending as well as a hike in the debt ceiling and more than $80 billion for disaster relief, The New York Times reported.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) unveiled the deal on the Senate floor, alongside Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

“I am pleased to announce that our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on defense spending and other priorities have yielded a significant agreement,” McConnell said. “The compromise we’ve reached will ensure that for the first time in years, our armed forces will have more of the resources they need to keep America safe. It will help us serve the veterans who have bravely served us, and it will ensure funding for important efforts such as disaster relief, infrastructure and building on our work to fight opioid abuse and drug addiction.”

According to a source who spoke with the Times, the deal includes billions of dollars dedicated to infrastructure, veterans hospitals, and health research. It also includes disaster relief for areas hit by hurricanes and wildfires in the past year, such as Texas, Florida, California, and Puerto Rico.

While the bill is expected to pass the Senate, it is unclear if it will pass the House. Democrats have repeatedly said they do not want to sign any budget deal until protections have been ensured for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said after it was announced that the package does not have her support without a deal for DACA recipients.

“Without that commitment from Speaker [Paul] Ryan, comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support, nor does it have the support of a large number of members of our caucus,” Pelosi said, according to media reports, referencing a promise made by McConnell to begin a debate on immigration in the coming weeks.

The House passed its own short-term measure Tuesday that would fund the government until September and avert a second federal government shutdown.

Without congressional action, the government will begin to shut down Thursday at midnight.

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