Congress Swerves Shutdown

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Lawmakers worked through the weekend and finally reached a critical agreement late Sunday night for a long-term spending bill, which if approved by the House and Senate, would extend government funding through the end of the fiscal year in September.

Congress previously voted overwhelmingly Friday to keep federal agencies open for another week in order to avoid a complete government shutdown. Despite this relief, it may still be difficult to pass a budget, as several major differences still divide the vote.

Despite congressional leaders’ efforts focused mainly on the budget, White House officials continued to push legislation for a revised healthcare system. White House officials seemed confident that they could get the votes in spite of many GOP members’ and moderates’ uneasy outlooks.

The Trump administration also continued to push legislation for the funding of a border wall with the hopes of reaching a legislative victory in the post-100 days mark.

In spite of the push from the executive branch, the agreement would allocate billions for the Pentagon and border security, but would not provide any financial support for President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Under the proposed plan, $1.5 billion was approved for increased border security, including technology and repairs to existing infrastructure. There is, however, no money provided for a deportation force, and there would be no cuts in federal support for sanctuary cities.

Funding for the National Institute of Health would increase by $2 billion and there is also additional funding for science and clean energy. There were also no proposed cuts to Planned Parenthood.

Congress also approved a disaster-aid package which includes funding for California, West Virginia, Louisiana and North Carolina. They also agreed to create a permanent fix for miners’ health insurance and to provide $295 million for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program.

Year-round Pell Grants would be restored, and there is increased funding for transit infrastructure grants as well as the fight against the opioid epidemic.

The House and the Senate are likely to approve the spending bill this Friday in order to avoid a total government shutdown.