McConnell tees up budget deal
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMulvaney aims to cement CFPB legacy by ensuring successor's confirmation Senate left in limbo by Trump tweets, House delays Political figures pay tribute to Charles Krauthammer MORE (R-Ky.) has teed up a deal on the budget and a stopgap funding bill, with roughly a day left to prevent a shutdown.

McConnell filed and moved to end debate on the agreement to lift the budget caps shortly before midnight on Wednesday. The chamber is expected to vote on the deal Thursday, though without an agreement the vote could be delayed until Friday. 

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Congress has until the end of Thursday to prevent a second shutdown. Included in the budget agreement is a short-term continuing resolution that would fund the government through March 23, giving lawmakers time to write a longer spending bill.

McConnell didn't schedule a vote on the budget and government funding deal, which will also raise the debt ceiling until March 2019, before adjourning the Senate for the night.

The agreement increases defense spending by $80 billion in fiscal year 2018 and by $85 billion in fiscal year 2019, while raising nondefense spending by $63 billion and $68 billion.

It also includes more than $89 billion in relief for states hit by a recent spate of hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters.

Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranTodd Young in talks about chairing Senate GOP campaign arm US farming cannot afford to continue to fall behind Mississippi Democrat drops Senate bid MORE (R-Miss.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, urged his Senate colleagues to back the legislation, noting that they need it to keep the government open.

“Its enactment would allow the Appropriations committees to work in a thoughtful manner over the next several weeks to reach consensus on important bipartisan priorities like funding our national defense, the opioid epidemic, veterans’ health care and infrastructure,” he said.

The Senate is expected to be able to pass the agreement hours before midnight Thursday, but it faces a less certain path in the House.

Fiscal hawks don’t like the spending increases and Democrats want a promise from Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanLaura Ingraham: George Will is ‘sad and petty’ for urging votes against GOP Seth Rogen: I told Paul Ryan I hate his policies in front of his kids George Will: Vote against GOP in midterms MORE (R-Wis.) to debate immigration legislation soon.

And the conservative House Freedom Caucus announced on Wednesday night that its "official position" would be to oppose the caps deal. 
"Growing the size of government by 13 percent is not what the voters sent us here to do," the caucus said in a tweet.