US House passes spending bill, defense gets huge boost

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 8, 2017

The House is debating a $1.1 trillion government-wide spending bill that has both Democrats and Republicans claiming victory - for now. After advocating for a future shutdown, the president hailed the budget agreement as a boost for the military, border security and other top priorities. "This is what winning looks like".

House Speaker Paul Ryan praised the measure as bipartisan.

"That's why we have to make sure this passes, to save those people from Obamacare that continues to collapse", McCarthy said.

Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, was predictably more critical of Trump's demand. They sounded a note of defeat, blaming Senate rules for a budget plan that merited closing most government operations. "Our Republican team had its own victory - under the radar", Trump said. "They're archaic rules. And maybe at some point we're going to have to take those rules on, because, for the good of the nation, things are going to have to be different".

"If you want to imagine what a good shutdown was, it would be one that fixes this town, one that drives the message back home to people that it really was as broken as they thought it was when they voted for Donald Trump", Mulvaney said.

President Donald Trump's spending bill passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday, but the voting breakdown may leave some scratching their heads. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the bill "delivers some important conservative wins".

Vice President Mike Pence met individually Tuesday with GOP lawmakers in his Capitol office, and House leaders held sessions with members as well.

Republicans including Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and Arizona Senator John McCain appeared to be exasperated with Trump's tweets.

Specifically in reference to Trump's tweet about the "need" for a shutdown, Mulvaney added, "I think what you heard this morning was his sense of frustration over how he's being mistreated by the Democrats on a bipartisan piece of legislation...."

His latest outbursts - no sitting president has called for the government to be shut down like this - could cast a shadow over how Congress approaches numerous bills this year. Terrible!" He also tweeted at the time that he had promised to "rebuild our military and secure our border. Lawmakers also reached a deal to permanently fund health benefits for retired coal miners.

"But I think that was with the original [Republican] bill", Garrett said, referring to a prior version of the legislation, which was yanked from a planned vote in late March after GOP leaders saw it did not have enough votes to pass.

Republicans and Democrats are jousting over who won the battle over this week's omnibus spending bill, and we'll give the call to Democrats because they fought to a draw while in the minority.

At the time, he said he would not alter the rules for any other legislation. "We've got a long ways to go between now and September", he told reporters.

Previous government shutdowns have cost the United States economy tens of billions of dollars and seen government services grind to a halt as thousands of non-essential personnel are temporarily laid off. A 16-day partial shutdown in 2013 cost $24 billion, according to Moody's and Standard and Poor's. That included lost revenue for the national parks.

Negotiators refused to endorse Trump's call to cut the Environmental Protection Agency's budget by a third, but Ryan said a 1 percent cut in the agency's budget would reduce staffing to pre-Obama levels. Patty Murray, D-Wash. "And why ruin that?"

The bill keeps the government funded through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends September 30, and prevents a shutdown of many parts of the federal government that would have begun at midnight.

But Republicans have expressed enthusiasm over the inclusion of $25 billion in increased defense appropriations, additional border security funding and language authorizing the expansion of charter schools. When asked, however, Mulvaney did not provide details on where the wall was to be built and said that the image depicted a "see-through steel wall" that would replace existing fencing along the Mexican border.

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