House and Senate expected to vote on bipartisan budget deal today

House and Senate expected to vote on bipartisan budget deal today

U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

WASHINGTON- The House and Senate today are expected to vote on a bipartisan budget deal that raises spending caps for two years and funds the government through March 23, 2018.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced the agreement in floor remarks on Wednesday.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 lifts defense sequestration caps the Obama administration placed on the Pentagon. It increases both defense and domestic spending by $300 billion through 2020.

The legislation provides funding to combat opioid addiction. It contains $80 billion in disaster relief aid for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas and Florida.

The legislation raises the government’s borrowing limit through March 2019.

Passage prospects in the House are somewhat uncertain.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) opposes the legislation because it does not provide protections for the more than 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Pelosi spoke on the House floor for more than eight hours on Wednesday in hopes of forcing a vote on DACA.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said that President Donald Trump’s support is a must for any immigration reform bill to move forward and that the lower chamber will address DACA separately from appropriations.

The program expires on March 5.

Pelosi wants an assurance from Ryan that DACA legislation will be given floor time next week as McConnell has agreed to do in the Senate.

Many of the more conservative House Republicans have said they will oppose the budget deal due to deficit concerns. If that scenario plays out, some degree of Democratic support likely will be needed for passage.

The government will run out of money after midnight tonight if both chambers do not approve the legislation.

It is possible that a final vote may not commence until early Friday morning.

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