McConnell: Talks have begun on possible 2-year budget caps deal

McConnell: Talks have begun on possible 2-year budget caps deal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the Tuesday briefing, Sept. 25, 2018, (Photo ©2018 Doug Christian)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Photo © 2018 Doug Christian/TMN)

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is working with President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to find consensus on a possible two-year budget caps agreement.

“We’ve agreed to put together at the staff level a group to begin discussing the possibility of reaching a two-year caps deal so we can move ahead, hopefully, with some kind of regular appropriations process,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said at a news conference on Tuesday.

“There’s a bipartisan desire to avoid a CR [continuing resolution] and obviously to avoid a sequester.”

The Trump administration’s FY 2020 budget request calls for $8.6 billion in border wall funding, $750 billion for the Department of Defense and a 5 percent across-the-board cut in non-defense spending. It aims to eliminate the estimated deficit in 15 years.

Democrats are adamantly opposed to both funding the wall and making cuts to social programs.

Any agreement would likely hinge on a compromise to make increases in defense spending contingent on increases in domestic spending.

Last year lawmakers reached a budget agreement that lifted defense sequestration caps the Obama administration placed on the Pentagon. It increased both defense and domestic spending by $300 billion through 2020. The agreement also lifted the debt ceiling through March of this year.

The government is funded through Sep. 30.

Lawmakers hope to avoid another shutdown, most notably in the light of the economic damage that ensued earlier this year after a 35-day funding lapse.

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