US Lawmakers to Vote on Budget Deal Negotiated in Senate

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US Lawmakers to Vote on Budget Deal Negotiated in Senate

Congress is moving to avoid a government shutdown that would take place at midnight Thursday. The same can not be said for the House, however, as more opponents are emerging from both sides of the aisle for varying reasons.

If the spending numbers are agreed to, lawmakers could concentrate on tackling other issues like immigration and infrastructure rather than careening from one budget crisis to the next.

On Wednesday, Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader who spearheaded the bill alongside Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, said the agreement was "a significant, bipartisan step forward". On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) spoke on the floor for eight hours, extolling the virtues of immigrants and demanding a bill to protect those brought into the USA illegally as children.

But frustrations were clear in both sides of the Capitol, where just hours earlier leaders had been optimistic that the budget deal was a sign they had left behind some of their chronic dysfunction.

What to really watch today: The House floor during each unrelated vote Thursday. If it passes, the two-year spending deal completes months of haggling between the two parties on a variety of issues that have resulted in five incremental spending bills and a three-day government shutdown.

The bipartisan breakthrough came as the Republican-controlled House of Representatives debated and then passed a controversial six-week stopgap spending measure. CNBC said the House Freedom Caucus does not support the spending increases.

Initial White House reaction to the deal was optimistic but noncommittal.

Some House Democrats, bolstered by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's record-length speech yesterday, are claiming they won't support the budget plan without the promise of a debate on immigration reform centered around the renewal of DACA protections.

"House Republicans are nearly certain to need Democratic votes to pass the sweeping agreement, giving Pelosi significant leverage to force some kind of concession from House GOP leaders on stalled immigration talks".

Democrats, disappointed that the measure does not address the status of Dreamers, have protested the spending package and their potential loss of leverage in future immigration negotiations if it goes through.

McConnell has committed to a freewheeling debate on immigration if the Senate is still open after February 8. "While I obviously cannot guarantee any outcome, I can ensure the process is fair".

When asked if he supported the bill, Alabama Republican Mo Brooks said: "I'm not only a no". Groups of lawmakers are meeting behind closed doors to develop legislation that would also include border security enhancements and other immigration law changes. The caps deal will likely need Democratic support and some Democrats have been emphatic that they don't want to agree to raising budget caps until they have assurances that recipients of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, will be protected.

"Lawmakers in the "Quad Caucus"-the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus-were also planning to put out a statement Wednesday opposing any budget deal without progress on Dreamers".

He added: "While President Trump threatens shutdowns and stalemates, congressional leaders have done the hard work of finding compromise and consensus".

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