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 SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (N.Y.) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who threatened to block the bill over what they considered "poison pill" riders.

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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 LeahyDem senator praises Ford opening the door to testifying Ford opens door to testifying next week Senate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh 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) ManchinGOP plays defense on ObamaCare’s pre-existing conditions Doug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh Cook Political Report moves Texas Senate race to ‘toss-up’ MORE (W.Va.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSherrod Brown says he's 'not actively considering' running for president Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens 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.