The U.S Senate leaders reached an agreement on Wednesday to increase federal spending by $300 billion. It’s a two-year budget that aims to end the arguments over fiscal issues that have plagued the Capitol and is a rare display of bipartisanship. This will add to the quickly increasing federal deficit along with the tax cuts approved by President Donald Trump in December. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the agreement was a product of continuous hard work and extensive negotiations among the Congress leaders and the White House.
Before the plan is signed by the President, it will need to be passed in House of Representatives and the Senate, both controlled by Trump’s Republican Party. Democrats, however, have asked that Paul Ryan, Republican Speaker, advance a separate legislation on immigration policy, which has caused a lot of controversy, and that they won’t be supporting the plan unless they do so. The leader of the Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer, was positive and said that the spending issues that have plagued the Congress and consequently affected the middle-class, would be taken care of.
The plan underlines budgets for increased defense funding, which was one of Trump’s promises during his campaign. Apart from providing funds for disaster relief, opioid abuse programs and infrastructure spending, the budget deal extends the period of government’s debt ceiling to March 2019.
A congressional source said that the increase in federal funding, which is just shy of $300 billion, would not be compensated for by other budget cuts or new revenues of tax. The numbers, highlighted by another source, claim that $20 billion, of the non-defense spending of $130 billion, will be allocated to infrastructure and an addition of 4 years of funding will take the Children’s Health Insurance Plan(CIHP) to 10 years as compared to the 6 currently.
Arguments over financial spending and causing government shutdowns have been so common that the threat no longer affects financial markets and this plan would ease the pressure off of lawmakers trying to reach agreements to avoid another shutdown which, if the lawmakers fail, would be the second one of the year.
The previous shutdown, that occurred last month, was due to disagreements regarding the immigration policy and lasted three days and could still be a threat to the deal going forward. Nancy Pelosi, who’s the Democratic leader of the House, said that in order to protect young adult immigrants – otherwise known as “Dreamers”, that are in the hundreds of thousands of numbers and have been illegally brought to the United States as children, she would oppose the deal unless Ryan promises to advance the legislation protecting them.
Trump, meanwhile, is adamant on keeping those laws and said that he would welcome a government shutdown if Congress could not reach an agreement on laws that he said prevented illegal immigrants from entering the U.S. The Republicans want to keep the immigration policy and spending separate as Democrats seek to have protective rights for the Dreamers included in the spending bill.