Congress strikes deal on funding for 2017 to avoid shutdown

Congress strikes deal on funding for 2017 to avoid shutdown

Congressional negotiators have signed off on a deal to fund the government through September, avoiding a shutdown of federal agencies over a dispute on President Trump’s border wall and other issues, according to two senior congressional aides. 

The legislation does not provide funding for construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border or eliminate money for so-called sanctuary cities that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration law, according to a summary provided by a senior congressional aide.

Nor does it cut funding for Planned Parenthood.

These are major victories for Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Schumer: Trump budget would ‘cripple’ gun background checks Schumer: Senate Republicans' silence 'deafening' on guns, Russia MORE (N.Y.) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who threatened to block the bill over what they considered "poison pill" riders.

In a win for Republicans, the measure provides $1.5 billion for border security and $15 billion in additional defense funding — though it’s short the $30 billion in supplemental military funding Trump requested in his budget blueprint.

The defense increase is matched by a boost to nondefense programs for a total of $30 billion in additional funding over the sequester level set by a previous budget deal. None of Trump’s $18 billion in nondefense cuts were included.

The National Institutes of Health, a priority of Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike, will see a $2 billion funding increase, to give it $34 billion total.

The deal protects 99 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget and increases clean energy and science funding in spite of Trump’s calls to cut all three priorities.

Schumer lauded the deal in a statement Sunday evening.

“This agreement is a good agreement for the American people, and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table,” he said. “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.”

Democrats rejected Republican pressure to include 160 various riders that they deemed poison pills.

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyGrassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees Popular bill to fight drug prices left out of budget deal Judiciary Dems want public hearings with Kushner, Trump Jr. MORE (Vt.), the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, hailed the deal as a triumph for his party. 

“I am especially glad this agreement does not include a single penny for the construction of a misguided wall along our southern border,” he said. “This bipartisan agreement eliminates more than 160 poison pill riders that would have been devastating for the environment, put restrictions on consumer financial protections and attacked the Affordable Care Act.” 

The package includes $295 million to cover a Medicaid funding shortfall in Puerto Rico, one of the outstanding issue in the talks late last week.

Trump tweeted Thursday that “Democrats want to shut government if we don’t bail out Puerto Rico.”

It also includes money to permanently extend health benefits for retired miners, a top priority of Senate Democrats facing reelection next year such as Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Toomey to introduce bill broadening background checks for firearms Scott Walker backs West Virginia attorney general in GOP Senate primary MORE (W.Va.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownLawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves Dem senator shares photo praising LeBron James after Laura Ingraham attacks Trump gets recommendation for steep curbs on imported steel, risking trade war MORE (Ohio).

There is $2 billion in disaster funding for California, West Virginia, Louisiana and North Carolina to rebuild damage caused by flooding and storms and for increased funding for transit infrastructure grants.

Negotiators also included $407 million for wildfire funding to Western states, as well as money for the northeast Amtrak rail corridor, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Head Start, an early education program for disadvantaged kids.

Congress must pass the package by May 5, when a short-term stopgap approved last week runs out. 

Updated 11:28 p.m.