Senate leaders agree to two-year budget deal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell protege emerges as Kentucky's next rising star Hillicon Valley: Schumer questions Army over use of TikTok | Federal court rules against random searches of travelers' phones | Groups push for election security funds in stopgap bill | Facebook's new payment feature | Disney+ launch hit by glitches McConnell, GOP leaders say they won't be watching House impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ky.) has announced a deal with Senate Democrats to fund the government and set spending levels for defense and nondefense programs over the next two years.

The legislation would avert a government shutdown on Friday, when federal funding is due to expire, and boost defense and nondefense programs.

ADVERTISEMENT

It also lifts the debt ceiling to March 2019, which White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hailed as a decision that would move Congress away from "crisis-to-crisis budgeting."

The deal is backed by McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDivided Supreme Court leans toward allowing Trump to end DACA Ilhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' Top Senate Dem: Officials timed immigration policy around 2020 election MORE (D-N.Y.), and will almost certainly be cleared as part of a stopgap funding measure by the Senate before a Feb. 8 deadline to prevent a shutdown.

It is not entirely sure the package will win enough support to pass the House, however. 

It does not include language sheltering thousands of immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children who could face deportation next month. 

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGiuliani pens op-ed slamming 'unprecedented' impeachment inquiry Brindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees Overnight Health Care: Top health official defends contract payments to Trump allies | Vaping advocates confident Trump will turn from flavor ban | Sanders gets endorsement from nurses union MORE (D-Calif.) says she will oppose the deal without a commitment from Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis Ryan Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan California Governor Newsom and family dress as 2020 Democrats for Halloween DC's liaison to rock 'n' roll MORE (R-Wis.) to consider legislation to protect "Dreamers" and other immigrants facing possible deportation next month.

Pelosi was in the midst of a floor speech running more than three hours in the House when McConnell announced the deal. McConnell has promised a floor debate on immigration in the Senate.

“Without a commitment from Speaker Ryan, comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support,” Pelosi said in a statement. 

Ryan is also likely to face defections from conservatives who oppose the Senate bill for various reasons. The more Republican votes he loses, the more leverage Pelosi has.

The Senate agreement would increase defense spending by $80 billion in 2018 and $85 billion in 2019, according to a Senate GOP aide, something McConnell hailed as an achievement.

“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 bravely served us,” he said.

Overall, it provides $700 billion for defense spending for 2018 and $716 billion for 2019, according to the GOP aide.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing GOP senators frustrated with Romney jabs at Trump MORE (R-Tenn.), an outspoken budget hawk, however, said the defense increase was too much. 

"Military spending and defense spending is far above the president's request," he said. "I'm all for supporting our military and I want to make sure they're funded properly. It's very difficult to have that big an increase in one year and then be able to use it wisely."

It provides a $131 billion increase for nondefense programs — $57 billion in new funding over the next two years above the cap established by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

It sets a nondefense funding cap for 2018 that is $117 billion higher than what President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE requested in his 2018 budget request.

“After months of legislative logjams, this budget deal is a genuine breakthrough,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “After months of fiscal brinksmanship, this budget deal is the first real sprout of bipartisanship.”

He proclaimed the deal has consigned “the pointless and arbitrary sequester caps to the ash heaps of history.”

The legislation would also provide between $80 billion and $90 billion in disaster relief for communities hit by hurricanes and wildfires, according to Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell, GOP leaders say they won't be watching House impeachment hearing GOP senators warn against Trump firing intelligence community official Falling investment revives attacks against Trump's tax cuts MORE (Texas).

“I’m told it’s an improvement over the House version,” Cornyn said of the disaster relief.

It also includes a two-year reauthorization for community health centers, with $7 billion in total funding, and $6 billion to fight opioid addiction.

Other funding priorities are $4 billion to rebuild veterans’ hospitals and clinics, $2 billion for research at the National Institutes of Health and $20 billion for infrastructure programs.

In a big win for Democrats, it extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) another four years on top of the six-year extension that Congress approved last month.

“American families with children who benefit with CHIP will now be able to rest easy for the next decade,” Schumer said.

He said that seniors and children would also benefit from the deal’s extension of various expiring tax provisions.

--This report was updated at 2:08 p.m.