Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

United States Senate passes bill to end government shutdown

United States Senate passes bill to end government shutdown

After previous government shutdowns, Congress passed measures to ensure that all unpaid workers received retroactive pay.

Will there be a shutdown: Very unlikely in the end, but expect some drama before it's all said and done.

"After months of legislative logjams, this budget deal is a genuine breakthrough", said Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) from the Senate floor.

McConnell said the deal includes increases of nearly $300 billion for defence spending and domestic programs, $80 billion-plus in disaster relief and raises the debt ceiling.

But the fate of the deal remained uncertain Wednesday, with House conservatives expressing concerns about the increased deficit spending and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., saying the agreement does nothing to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S.as children.

Ryan said House Republicans are happy about military, infrastructure and opioid crisis funding, and ditching the independent payment advisory board for the Affordable Care Act.

The vote was 245-182.

A short government shutdown is assured as the Senate has recessed until just after a Thursday midnight deadline to pass a temporary funding bill.

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House Democrats plan to begin an annual retreat in Cambridge, Maryland, on Wednesday afternoon. A spokeswoman blamed the cancellation on "the pressing issues Congress will likely vote on over the next three days".

Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell delivers remarks regarding budget negotiations with Democrats during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, Feb. 6, 2018. The agreement would increase spending by $300 billion dollars, with a large increase in military spending coupled with domestic spending that the Democrats want included in any agreement. Sen.

Both McConnell and Schumer reported progress Tuesday morning.

"We're making real progress on a spending deal that would increase the caps for both military and middle-class priorities on the domestic side that my colleagues have been fighting for", said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.

Prospects for dealing with immigration, however, were as fuzzy as ever.

Dreamers were shielded from deportation under the Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Sadly, we needed some Dem votes for passage.

The Office of Management and Budget has officially ordered the US government closed. The retired general noted the White House proposal would expand protection for some 1.8 million immigrants.

The plan also includes a few changes to the healthcare system.

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Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Joe Crowley of NY said the calculation for members is "complex", with members having to weigh what's best for their individual districts and the desire to help the DREAMers.

"I'm sorry for that characterization. Well, I say to everybody - don't collude with this administration", Gutierrez said.

The budget talks appeared to be going more smoothly.

The core of the agreement would shatter tight "caps" on defense and domestic programs funded by Congress each year. "This budget deal will be the best thing we've done for our economy, our military, (and) our middle class for a long time".

The upper chamber of Congress closed up shop late Thursday and reopened in the dark of night for a new session at 12:01 am (0501 GMT) Friday, launching a new effort to pass a bill to extend federal funding for six more weeks. Cotton growers and dairy farmers would get relief courtesy of the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee, while popular funding for community health centers would be extended for two years, among myriad health provisions.

It also extends the USA government's borrowing authority until March 2019, sparing Washington politicians hard votes on debt and deficits until after mid-term congressional elections in November.

If conservative Republicans in the House oppose the agreement, Ryan would need a significant number of Democratic votes to get it passed.

It's clear that Senate Democrats have no appetite for another government shutdown.

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