Congress OKs $147B spend­ing bill

Short-term plan punts on border wall to help avert shut­down

The Detroit News - - Trump Administration - BY MATTHEW DALY As­so­ci­ated Press

Wash­ing­ton – Mov­ing to head off a gov­ern­ment shut­down that nei­ther party wants, Congress has over­whelm­ingly ap­proved a com­pro­mise spend­ing bill and pledged agree­ment on a short­term bill to fund the gov­ern­ment through early De­cem­ber.

The House on Thurs­day ap­proved a $147 bil­lion pack­age to fund the En­ergy Depart­ment, veter­ans’ pro­grams and the leg­isla­tive branch. The 377-20 vote came a day af­ter the Se­nate passed the mea­sure, 92-5. The bill now goes to White House, where Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is ex­pected to sign it.

The quick ac­tion in the House and Se­nate came as leg­isla­tive lead­ers an­nounced agree­ment on a bill to fund the rest of the gov­ern­ment through Dec. 7. Rep. Rod­ney Frel­inghuy­sen, R-N.J., chair­man of the House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee, said the short­term plan would be added to a sep­a­rate spend­ing bill that law­mak­ers are ne­go­ti­at­ing to cover the De­fense Depart­ment and la­bor, health and

The stop­gap bill would not ad­dress Trump’s long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mex­ico border. GOP lead­ers have said they pre­fer to re­solve the is­sue af­ter the Nov. 6 elec­tions.

It was not clear whether Trump would back this ap­proach, but a Repub­li­can aide said the White House had not in­di­cated any im­me­di­ate op­po­si­tion.

The bill ap­proved Thurs­day was the first of three spend­ing mea­sures Congress hopes to ap­prove this month to avoid a gov­ern­ment shut­down when the new bud­get year be­gins Oct. 1.

Pas­sage was so im­por­tant to Repub­li­can lead­ers that they moved up the Se­nate vote, cit­ing

ed­u­ca­tion

pro­grams. the threat of Hur­ri­cane Florence bear­ing down on the south­east coast. The House and Se­nate both ad­journed for the week im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the bud­get votes.

The three com­pro­mise spend­ing plans, if passed by Congress and signed by Trump, would ac­count for nearly 90 per­cent of an­nual fed­eral spend­ing, in­clud­ing the mil­i­tary and most civil­ian agen­cies.

“This pack­age is not per­fect, but that is the na­ture of com­pro­mise,” said Ver­mont Sen. Pa­trick Leahy, the top Demo­crat on the Se­nate Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee.

Leahy said he was con­cerned that the bill did not do enough to cover costs as­so­ci­ated with a pro­gram that al­lows veter­ans to re­ceive gov­ern­ment-paid health care at pri­vate fa­cil­i­ties.

Across the Capi­tol, Rep. Mark Walker said he and other con­ser­va­tives were dis­ap­pointed by the ab­sence of pol­icy add-ons that were in a House-passed ver­sion be­fore bud­get ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Se­nate.

“House Repub­li­can pri­or­i­ties were shut out across the board,” said Walker, R-N.C. He said con­ser­va­tives ex­pect the next round of bud­get talks to re­flect their pol­icy pri­or­i­ties. If not, it will be “dif­fi­cult to sup­port this fund­ing,” Walker said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, RWis., dis­puted Walker’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion. “I think we got a great amount of vic­to­ries for our mem­bers,” Ryan said.

Ryan said the bill in­cludes money for veter­ans’ health care, mil­i­tary in­fra­struc­ture, the elec­tri­cal grid and nu­clear weapons pro­grams.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

“This pack­age is not per­fect, but that is the na­ture of com­pro­mise,” said Sen. Pa­trick Leahy, D-Vt.

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