mcloudyn.png
Sunday December 8th, 2019 5:30AM

Congress hopes to OK spending deal, avert possible shutdown

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — As a potentially catastrophic hurricane takes aim at the Carolinas, Congress is trying to head off a legislative disaster that could lead to a partial government shutdown weeks before the November elections.

The House planned to vote Thursday afternoon on a $147 billion package to fund the Energy Department, veterans' programs and the legislative branch. The Senate passed that measure by a 92-5 vote Wednesday night.

Legislative leaders also announced an agreement on a bill to fund the rest of the government through Dec. 7. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said this short-term plan would be added to a separate spending bill that lawmakers are negotiating to cover the Defense Department and labor, health and education programs.

The stopgap bill would not address President Donald Trump's long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. GOP leaders have said they prefer to resolve the issue after the Nov. 6 elections.

It was not clear whether Trump would back this approach, but a Republican aide said the White House had not indicated any immediate opposition.

The bill awaiting House action was the first of three spending measures Congress hoped to approve this month to avoid a government shutdown when the new budget year begins Oct. 1.

Passage of this bill was so important to Republican leaders that they moved up the Senate vote, citing the threat of Hurricane Florence bearing down on the southeast coast.

The bill was a marked departure from recent years, when Congress routinely ignored agency-specific spending measures in favor of massive packages that funded the entire government at once. Trump has said he would not sign another such bill.

The three compromise spending plans, if passed by Congress and signed by Trump, would account for nearly 90 percent of annual federal spending, including the military and most civilian agencies.

"This package is not perfect, but that is the nature of compromise," said Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Leahy said he was concerned that the bill did not do enough to cover costs associated with a program that allows veterans to receive government-paid health care at private facilities.

Across the Capitol, Rep. Mark Walker said he and other conservatives were disappointed by the absence of policy add-ons that were in the House's spending version before budget negotiations with the Senate.

"House Republican priorities were shut out across the board," said Walker, R-N.C. He said conservatives expect the next round of budget talks to reflect their policy priorities. If not, it will be "difficult to support this funding," Walker said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., disputed Walker's characterization. "I think we got a great amount of victories for our members," Ryan said.

Ryan said the bill includes money for veterans' health care, military infrastructure, the electrical grid and nuclear weapons programs, and "represents a return to our most basic responsibility around here: passing appropriation bills."

While generally upbeat about the progress on spending legislation, lawmakers from both parties are wary of a government shutdown, which Trump has threatened unless he gets billions of dollars for the wall.

"We still are in favor of the wall, we still want to get funding for the wall, but we think the best time to have that discussion is after the election," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News last week.

McConnell, R-Ky., said there's "zero" chance of a government shutdown.

Even so, Trump held out the possibility of a shutdown, citing the need to protect the nation's border by following through on his signature campaign promise.

"If it happens, it happens," Trump said last week. "If it's about border security, I'm willing to do anything."

With Republicans running the White House and both chambers of Congress, GOP leaders worry that voters would blame them for a shutdown, worsening the party's prospects for retaining congressional control amid an anticipated "blue wave" for Democrats.

The White House in a statement said Trump looks forward to signing the spending package, adding that it "aligns with many of the administration's priorities."

The three-bill bundle includes:

—a $5.1 billion increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs, with $1.1 billion to pay for a law Trump signed to give veterans more freedom to see doctors outside the troubled VA system.

—$44.6 billion for energy and water programs, including programs to ensure nuclear stockpile readiness and spur innovation in energy research. The bill also funds flood-control projects and addresses regional ports and waterways.

The bill would require Senate candidates to file electronic campaign finance reports — nearly two decades after the requirement was put in place in the House. Senate candidates currently file paperwork with the secretary of the Senate, who then sends it along to the Federal Election Commission, causing weekslong delays in electronic filing.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, General Senate Election News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump claims Hurricane Maria death toll rose 'like magic'
President Donald Trump is rejecting the official death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
11:14PM ( 46 minutes ago )
The Latest: Pompeo blasts Kerry for Iran meetings
Former Secretary of State John Kerry has responded to President Donald Trump's criticism of his meeting with the Iranian foreign minister by telling the commander in chief he should instead focus on the special counsel's investigation
11:08PM ( 52 minutes ago )
The Latest: Forecast: Florence threat continues overnight
Tropical Storm Florence is crawling slowly across South Carolina as life-threatening storm surges and strong winds are expected to continue overnight; rising inland flood threat
11:03PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Mom of alleged MS-13 victim killed by SUV at girl's memorial
Grieving mother recognized by Trump in his campaign against deadly MS-13 gang violence is struck and killed by SUV after heated confrontation with the driver at her slain daughter's memorial
10:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
History-making runs turn black governor nominees into stars
The history-making gubernatorial runs by Stacey Abrams of Georgia, Andrew Gillum of Florida and Ben Jealous of Maryland are turning them into stars nationwide and at the Congressional Black Caucus annual legislative conference
10:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
Mom of alleged MS-13 victim killed by car at girl's memorial
A New York mother recognized by President Donald Trump at the State of the Union in his campaign against deadly MS-13 gang violence was struck by an SUV and killed at her slain daughter's memorial Friday after a heated confrontation with the driver
9:09PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Montana Green Party's ballot benefactor may remain unknown
Montana officials may never know who bankrolled the effort to qualify the Green Party for the 2018 ballot
5:50PM ( 6 hours ago )
Insurgent who won in NY says voters looked past distractions
A 27-year-old insurgent who defeated a veteran New York lawmaker after a bruising primary characterized by embarrassing revelations about her past said Friday that she won because voters were civically engaged and focused on the issues
5:43PM ( 6 hours ago )
Congressional race in southwest Washington draws spotlight
A congressional race in southwest Washington has drawn national attention
4:43PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: Lawyer says Manafort has agreed to cooperate
Paul Manafort's lawyer says the former Trump campaign chairman cut a deal with prosecutors "to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life"
5:21PM ( 6 hours ago )
As Trump threatens election meddlers, Russia says 'so what?'
Russia is shrugging off President Donald Trump's new sanctions order for foreign election meddling
4:46PM ( 7 hours ago )
The Latest: Lawyer says Manafort cut deal to protect family
Paul Manafort's lawyer says the former Trump campaign chairman cut a deal with prosecutors "to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life"
12:49PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Elections
James wins Democratic primary for NY attorney general
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has won a four-way Democratic primary for attorney general in New York
12:32AM ( 23 hours ago )
Cuomo defeats Nixon in NY gubernatorial primary
Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has defeated primary challenger Cynthia Nixon to win his party's nomination for a third term
11:34PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Nixon congratulates Gov. Cuomo on NY primary win
Cynthia Nixon says she has called New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to congratulate him on his victory in their hard-fought Democratic primary
10:55PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
Another socialist victory: Salazar wins NY Senate primary
Democratic socialist Julia Salazar has defeated eight-term incumbent Sen. Martin Dilan in the Democratic primary for a state Senate seat in New York
12:49AM ( 23 hours ago )
Montana Senate candidate accused of coordinating with NRA
Democrats are accusing U.S. Senate candidate Matt Rosendale of illegal coordination with the National Rifle Association after an audio recording surfaced of the Montana Republican saying he expected the NRA to buy media ads in support of his campaign
5:41PM ( 1 day ago )
Congress passes spending deal, bids to avert gov't shutdown
The House has approved a $147 billion package to fund the Energy Department, veterans' programs and the legislative branch, a day after the Senate passed the measure. It now goes to President Trump for his signature.
5:25PM ( 1 day ago )
General Senate Election News
The Latest: North Carolina city gets 23 inches of rain
One city in North Carolina has picked up more than 23 inches of rain in two days from Tropical Storm Florence
10:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
Everyone wants answers: State, feds hunt for gas blast cause
Investigators are working to pinpoint the cause of a series of fiery natural gas explosions that killed a teenager, injured at least 25 others and left dozens of homes in smoldering ruins
9:56PM ( 2 hours ago )
Ferocious typhoon plows through rain-soaked Philippines
Typhoon Mangkhut has slammed into the Philippines' northeastern coast with ferocious winds and blinding rain that ripped off tin roof sheets and knocked out power
9:56PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Kobach aims to drive out migrants living in Kansas illegally
Republican Kris Kobach says Kansas is spending $377 million a year on benefits for immigrants living in the state illegally, and he promises to put a stop to it if he's elected governor
6:06PM ( 5 hours ago )
Small-company stocks shine on an otherwise ho-hum day
Small-company stocks did better than the rest of the market on what turned out to be an indecisive day of trading on Wall Street.
4:45PM ( 7 hours ago )
US stock indexes turn lower on renewed trade concerns
US stocks are giving up an early gain and turning slightly lower after Bloomberg News reported that President Donald Trump wants to go ahead with new tariffs on imports from China.
2:45PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Trump claims Hurricane Maria death toll rose 'like magic'
President Donald Trump is rejecting the official death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
11:14PM ( 46 minutes ago )
The Latest: Pompeo blasts Kerry for Iran meetings
Former Secretary of State John Kerry has responded to President Donald Trump's criticism of his meeting with the Iranian foreign minister by telling the commander in chief he should instead focus on the special counsel's investigation
11:08PM ( 53 minutes ago )
The Latest: Forecast: Florence threat continues overnight
Tropical Storm Florence is crawling slowly across South Carolina as life-threatening storm surges and strong winds are expected to continue overnight; rising inland flood threat
11:03PM ( 58 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump claims Maria death toll rose 'like magic'
President Donald Trump is circling back to his claim that the death toll from Hurricane Maria last year was inflated and says the number rose to 3,000 "like magic."
10:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Downtown march protests man's police shooting
Dozens of demonstrators marched through the streets of downtown Dallas to protest a white police officer's fatal shooting of a black man in his own apartment
10:41PM ( 1 hour ago )