In a surprise breakthrough in the budget negotiations, Senate leaders today announced that they have reached a two-year budget agreement to raise the discretionary spending caps on defense and domestic programs. If enacted, the bipartisan deal would allow congressional appropriators to begin finalizing an omnibus spending bill to fund the remainder of fiscal year 2018.
At this writing, the Senate is considering tucking the budget agreement into its CR package. The Senate CR would extend government funding through March 23 . But unlike the House-passed CR, the Senate version is expected to include the following major provisions:
- Extension of the debt limit through 2018
- $80+ billion in disaster assistance
- Reauthorization of CHIP for a total of 10 years
- Healthcare-related extenders
- Tax extenders for 2017
The proposed Senate package faces an uncertain fate in the House, as Democratic members are inclined to oppose the deal without a fix for DACA. And House conservatives will likely frown upon the increased domestic spending levels. It remains to be seen whether the additional provisions outlined above will secure the necessary votes in the House. Official text to the Senate CR package is not yet available at this time, and votes have not been scheduled.