Congress is getting closer to avoiding another shutdown later this week. The Senate's top leaders announced Wednesday they have sealed agreement on a two-year budget pact that would shower both the Pentagon and domestic programs with almost $300 billion above existing limits, giving wins to both GOP defense hawks and Democrats seeking billions for infrastructure projects and opioid abuse. The agreement is likely to be added to a stopgap spending bill that passed the House on Tuesday and is aimed at averting a government shutdown Thursday at midnight, per the AP. One new hurdle: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California announced she would oppose the budget measure unless her chamber's GOP leaders promised a vote on legislation to protect "Dreamer" immigrants.
Senate Democratic leaders earlier dropped their strategy of using the funding fight to extract concessions on immigration, specifically on seeking extended protections for young immigrants brought to the US illegally as children. Instead, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer went with a deal that would reap tens of billions of dollars for other priorities while hoping to solve the immigration impasse later. Both he and Mitch McConnell said they were confident of avoiding a shutdown, and the White House signaled that President Trump supports the deal, reports Politico. The plan also contains almost $90 billion in overdue disaster aid for hurricane-slammed Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. It would also increase the government's borrowing cap to prevent a first-ever default on U.S. obligations that looms in just a few weeks.
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