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Lawmakers push for budget vote to avert government shutdown

By in Press Enterprise on February 8, 2018

By The Associated Press


WASHINGTON — Lawmakers pushed to enact a massive budget deal Thursday along with a stopgap temporary measure to prevent a government shutdown at midnight. The measure appeared set to sail through the Senate in anticipation of the House sending it to President Donald Trump by day’s end.

House GOP leaders were working to shore up support among conservatives for the measure, which would shower the Pentagon with money but add hundreds of billions of dollars to the nation’s $20 trillion-plus debt.

Hopes for a midafternoon Senate vote were dashed by Rand Paul, R-Ky., who was holding the measure up — for now — in hopes of winning a vote to reverse its spending increases.

House Democratic leaders opposed the measure — demanding a vote to resolve the plight of immigrant “Dreamers” who face deportation after being brought to the U.S. illegally as children — but not with all their might. Other rank-and-file Democrats said they would support the bill, which is larded with money for party priorities like infrastructure and combating opioid abuse.

Republicans pointed to money they have long sought for the Pentagon. “It provides what the Pentagon needs to restore our military’s edge for years to come,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

But it represented a bitter defeat for many liberal Democrats who sought to use the party’s leverage on the budget to address immigration. And some tea party Republicans shredded the measure as a budget-buster.

Beyond the $300 billion figure for the military and domestic programs, the agreement adds $89 billion in overdue disaster aid for hurricane-slammed Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, a politically charged increase in the government’s borrowing cap and a grab bag of health and tax provisions. Cotton growers and dairy farmers would get relief courtesy of the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee, while popular […]    

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