As deadline nears, prospects of avoiding a shutdown brighten

As deadline nears, prospects of avoiding a shutdown brighten

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the agreement would include an increase for domestic programs like drug treatment and broadband infrastructure that Democrats have sought, as well as a military spending increase championed by Republicans. McConnell reached an agreement with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to reopen the government after three days by pledging to bring up legislation meant to address the DACA issue, "so long as the government remains open".

The budget negotiations, conducted chiefly by the Senate's top leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Chuck Schumer of NY, have intensified in recent days - and the looming government shutdown at midnight Thursday added urgency to the talks.

But Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer struck a more optimistic note, saying his Tuesday negotiating session with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "went very well", and that "we are closer to an agreement than we have ever been".

Mr. Schumer said the Democrats' negotiating position had not changed: they were looking for increases in defense spending to be met with equivalent increases in domestic spending, or what they are now calling "middle-class programs". It is expected to end up as a place-holder for the broader legislation McConnell and Schumer said they are negotiating, forcing the House to conduct a vote on the Senate measure in the next two days to avoid a shutdown. This time, Senator Brown said Democrats may have to separate the immigration issue from the budget battle. "Hopefully we will not be in that situation again". This sets up a ping-pong match as the Senate is expected to strip out the defense-only funding and potentially swap in its parallel healthcare package among other things. House Democratic leaders are urging a no vote, meaning Republican leaders can not afford many defections. "'We're gonna send this to them and jam them, '" Massie said.

If Senate leaders fail to finalize the deal within the next day, McConnell could amend the House resolution with a fallback option to keep federal agencies open. Members of the libertarian-leaning House Freedom Caucus gave their official thumbs-up for the measure after a meeting Monday night, despite concerns about the overall spending number-meaning at least 80 percent of the roughly three dozen lawmakers supported it.

Lawmakers have been lobbying McConnell in a number of different directions on what to actually call to the floor, which will form the starting point for a bill that will ultimately need 60 votes and bipartisan support to advance. House Democrats want relief for Dreamers without big immigration policy concessions to Trump.

So far House conservatives have signaled they could support a short-term CR that included a caps deal.

Questions remain as to whether Senate Democrats will continue to insist that any deal provide "parity" between increases in defense and non-defense spending above the caps mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

Last year, Trump ended the program known as DACA that provided people in the country illegally who were brought to the United States as children temporary protections from deportation.

Still, Senate Democrats told the Hill that they do not expect another shutdown this week.

"I think we're working from the same page", he said.

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the chamber's second-ranking Republican, said he hopes a budget deal would include a provision to raise the debt ceiling.

Trump past year ordered those protection removed by March 5, although a federal court has blocked his administration from ending the program. It would also lead into a disaster aid supplemental that has stalled in the Senate with, among other issues for disaster-stricken states and territories, Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico.



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