Republicans and Democrats have reached an agreement to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year and set spending caps for the next two years, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced on the Senate floor Wednesday.
The bipartisan deal lifts mandatory federal spending caps imposed under the 2011 Budget Control Act. The deal would provide the Defense Department with an additional $80 billion over the cap while the nation's domestic budget would receive a boost of about $60 billion.
McConnell tweeted out news of the deal as he was speaking on the Senate floor about it. He said the deal would fund disaster relief efforts, but also help the military escape the sequester cuts.
I'm happy to announce that our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on defense spending and other priorities have yielded a significant agreement. Thank you @SenSchumer for joining me this afternoon, and for the productive discussions that generated this proposal.— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) February 7, 2018
For the first time in years, our military will have the resources needed to keep us safe. This funding will help serve #Veterans who have bravely served, & it will ensure efforts such as disaster relief, infrastructure, and build on our fight against opioid abuse & drug addiction— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) February 7, 2018
Democrats had been demanding "parity" as part of the deal, meaning that domestic spending gets the same increase the defense spending gets as part of any deal. Still, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., signaled his support for the final agreement.
"This deal doesn’t have everything Democrats want it, it doesn’t have everything Republicans want it, but it has a great deal of what the American people want," Schumer said on the floor. "This deal is a genuine breakthrough. This is a first real sprout of genuine bipartisanship."
The deal also includes additional money for community health centers that were created under Obamacare and are running out of funding, and would extend funding for a host of Medicaid and Medicare programs.
And, it includes billions for disaster relief aide as well as money to help communities cope with the opioid addition crisis.
Congress has relied on short term spending bills, or continuing resolutions, to fund the federal government this past fiscal year, but the deal would put an end to that through fiscal year 2019. The government is currently operating on its fourth continuing resolution of the fiscal year, and it expires on Thursday at midnight.
However, McConnell said he anticipates Congress will pass one last short-term bill by Thursday that will be needed to provide enough time to write and prepare the legislation to accommodate the new agreement. McConnell said it will take six weeks to finalize the plan.
Senators were indicating Tuesday that they were close to a deal on spending.