Congress is close to the mother of all budget deals of the Trump era — get ready for a wild 48 hours

 

  • The House passed a bill Tuesday to fund the government through March 23, along with a full year of funding for the Pentagon.
  • The plan is expected to be dead on arrival in the Senate, where leaders are working on a separate, expansive deal.
  • The Senate deal would extend government funding in the short-term, while paving the way for a broader budget deal.
  • Some House members are wary of the early details of the Senate deal.
  • The shutdown deadline is the end of the day Thursday.


Senate leaders late Tuesday neared a broader budget deal that could end Washington's cycle of short-term funding fixes, but how it would be received with both parties' hardline caucuses is unclear.

With less than two days before the federal government once again runs out of funding, Congress is scrambling to find a deal that would avoid a shutdown. The House on Tuesday voted to advance a bill that would keep the government funded through March 23 while also funding the Department of Defense for the rest of the fiscal year and extending some key Medicare programs.

The bill was passed with exclusively Republican votes by a final tally of 245 to 182.

While the funding bill now heads to the Senate for deliberation, the upper chamber's leaders are working on a separate deal that would increase over the next two years the limits for defense and non-defense spending imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

Both Democrats and Republicans favor lifting the caps. The reported Senate deal would increase spending in both the defense and non-defense sections of the budget by almost $300 billion total over the next two years. According to The Washington Post, defense spending would get an $80 billion per year boost over its current caps, and non-defense would get $63 billion more per year.

Once Congress lifts the caps, the two parties would then have to agree on exactly how much individual programs would receive. Such a deal would also need to extend current government funding until leaders could agree on more specific details.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that leaders "are closer to an agreement than we have ever been" on a deal. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also said he was hopeful.

"We’re on the way to getting an agreement and on the way to getting an agreement very soon," he told reporters.

A big deal is likely to face significant resistance

The deal could get tripped up in Congress by resistance from both parties.

Neither chamber's funding plan addresses immigration — particularly the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program, which has become a flashpoint in recent congressional funding negotiations. Amid last month's three-day government shutdown, Senate Democrats said they agreed to open the government only because Republicans promised to work in good faith toward a solution.

The lack of any tangible progress toward a DACA deal and its absence from current Senate negotiations has left some House Democrats concerned.

"I think, however, unfortunately, it's okay to do it to Dreamers," Rep. Luis Gutierrez told reporters Tuesday. "It’s okay to turn your back and walk away from Dreamers, and I think that’s unfortunate."

Conservative House Republican members have also expressed qualms about the reported Senate deal.

"If the Senate comes back with something that we feel like is best for the American people, then yeah, we’re not opposed to it," Rep. Mark Walker, chair fo the Republican Study Committee told Business Insider. "At the same time, we reserve the right and the authority that if we feel like that they’re falling short on something that we promised or what’s best for our constituents, then we'll throw a flag on it."

Rep. Jim Jordan, a member of the hardline conservative Freedom Caucus, was even more blunt.

"This is a bad, bad, bad, bad — you could say 'bad' a hundred times — deal," Jordan said. "When you put it all together, a quarter-trillion-dollar increase in discretionary spending is not what we’re supposed to be doing."

The House would have to vote on any legislation that could arise out of the Senate deal.

President Donald Trump suggested that if Congress did not agree to the White House's immigration framework, he would "love to see a shutdown."

Joe Perticone contributed to this report.

25 PHOTOS
Scenes from the night of the January 2018 government shutdown
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Scenes from the night of the January 2018 government shutdown
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks to the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference with Democratic leaders on opposition to government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) arrives at Democratic Party caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (2nd R) with Democratic leaders leaves after a news conference on opposition to government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) talk to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference with Democratic leaders on opposition to government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks on a phone outside the room during Democratic Party caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney talks with reporters at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Reporters wait to interview White House budget director Mick Mulvaney at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) talks to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (L) as they leave the Democratic Party caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) arrives at Democratic Party caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
WASHINGTON, DC - January 19: Pizza boxes are seen outside the offices of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as legislators work into the night to avert a government shutdown at the U.S. Capitol January 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. A continuing resolution to fund the government has passed the House of Representatives but faces a stiff challenge in the Senate. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: (L-R) Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) walk out of a Democratic Caucus meeting at the US Capitol on January 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. A continuing resolution to fund the government has passed the House of Representatives but faces a stiff challenge in the Senate.(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) walks to Democratic Caucus meeting at the US Capitol on January 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. A continuing resolution to fund the government has passed the House of Representatives but faces a stiff challenge in the Senate. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) walks to a Democratic Caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol January 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. A continuing resolution to fund the government has passed the House of Representatives but faces a stiff challenge in the Senate. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) walks to a Democratic Caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol January 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. A continuing resolution to fund the government has passed the House of Representatives but faces a stiff challenge in the Senate. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) talks on the phone at the U.S. Capitol January 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. A continuing resolution to fund the government has passed the House of Representatives but faces a stiff challenge in the Senate. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), at left, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), center, and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), at right, walk to a Democratic Caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol January 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. A continuing resolution to fund the government has passed the House of Representatives but faces a stiff challenge in the Senate. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: (L-R) Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) walk out of a Democratic Caucus meeting at the US Capitol on January 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. A continuing resolution to fund the government has passed the House of Representatives but faces a stiff challenge in the Senate. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks to the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
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