Saturday, 15 December, 2018

McConnell, Schumer Strike 2-Year Budget Deal to Avert Shutdown

GOP to play hardball with Dems on funding bill Greg Nash
Ellis Copeland | 12 February, 2018, 02:16

It would also deprive Senate Democrats of a tool they could use to stymie the Trump administration, which has been plagued by repeated accusations of Executive Branch abuses, including unprecedented nepotism and conflicts of interest, and obstruction of justice in the Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry into alleged election meddling in 2016.

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday reached a two-year bipartisan budget deal worth around $300-billion that would lift caps on defense and domestic government spending in an attempt to end the kind of squabbling over fiscal issues that has plagued Washington for years.

House Republican leaders have come out with a plan to keep the government open for six more weeks while Washington grapples with a potential follow-up budget pact and, perhaps, immigration legislation.

The House easily passed the spending bill after 5:30 in the morning, and President Trump signed it into law.

But his administration had already prepared for a halt in operations.

The measure, aides said, also contains nearly $90 billion in overdue disaster aid and an increase in the government borrowing cap that would prevent a first-ever US government default on its obligations.

The underlying bill includes huge spending increases sought by Republicans for the Pentagon along with a big boost demanded by Democrats for domestic agencies. "We've increased the funding over this fiscal year and last fiscal year by $1.4 billion through CARA and CURES, but we must do more". "I can't in all honesty look the other way". "I want people to feel uncomfortable".

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer warned late Thursday that time was running short. "Now that we have it we need to support it", said Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Pennsylvania Republican.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader said in a statement that, "We're on the way to getting an agreement and on the way to getting an agreement very soon". A final vote would follow.

Watch the wonderful North Korean cheerleaders at work
North and South Korea are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty. Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, arrives for a banquet in Seoul, South Korea February 11, 2018.


Dead, 4 Injured in Grand Canyon Helicopter Crash
An NTSB report issued in 2004 blamed the pilot's decision to descend too fast and too close to the scenic Grand Wash Cliffs. On its website, Papillon Airways calls itself as "oldest Grand Canyon helicopter sightseeing company".


Heavy Pakistan shelling along LoC in Rajouri district
Besides, Pakistani troops also launched mortar shells in Khadi Karmara and Chakan Da Bagh forward areas in Poonch on Saturday. A Defence spokesperson said the Indian Army was retaliating strongly and effectively to the Pakistani firing and shelling.


Taking to the Senate floor, Paul railed against government spending on everything from Afghanistan to misspent funds diverted from school lunch programs, saying both parties are, "spending us into oblivion".

Paul objected to each request.

"This is exploding. This deficit is exploding and there isn't the alarm you should see", Sen. "Hopefully we will not be in that situation again". In fact, the White House never showed signs it was anxious the bill wouldn't pass.

Since then, Trump has extended an immigration compromise with Democrats, going far beyond the "Dreamers" they want to protect and offering to provide a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal aliens.

"We're making real progress on a spending deal that would increase the caps for both military and middle-class priorities on the domestic side that my colleagues have been fighting for", said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.

Senate leaders in the USA have reportedly reached a two-year budget agreement to resolve a months-long impasse over spending levels.

That won over many Republicans, but some were furious over the $131 billion extra allocated for non-military spending, including health and infrastructure.

In a statement, he also said the agreement included investments in infrastructure and resources to combat the opioid crisis, as well as almost US$90 billion in disaster relief for hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, and the US Virgin Islands.

Democratic leaders have dropped their strategy of using the funding fight to extract concessions on immigration, specifically on seeking extended protections for the "Dreamer" immigrants who have lived in the country illegally since they were children.

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