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Trump Signs 2-Year Spending Pact

US Congress Washington DC
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Congress approved a bipartisan budget agreement shortly before sunrise.

Updated at 9:07 a.m. ET

President Trump signed a bipartisan budget agreement Friday morning, following approval of the bill in Congress shortly before sunrise.

The two-year spending pact will let lawmakers spend $300 billion more than current law allows.

The deal suspends a 2011 budget law championed by conservatives that set hard caps on discretionary spending and included an automatic trigger known as "sequester" cuts if Congress attempted to bust those spending caps.

The bill also included a one-time emergency influx of about $90 billion to help with ongoing recovery efforts for the hurricanes and wildfires that have hit the U.S. in recent months. All told, the bill hikes federal spending about $400 billion through September 2019.

Fiscal conservatives squawked at new spending levels. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., delayed the vote on the bipartisan measure to rail against his fellow Republicans for acquiescing to more spending than they ever did under President Barack Obama. The delays forced a partial government shutdown after midnight, to minimal impact.

"I ran for office because I was critical of President Obama's trillion-dollar deficits," Paul said on the floor. "Now we have Republicans hand-in-hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits."

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., blocked a budget deal Thursday as the government ran out of funding at midnight. Paul sought a vote on an amendment to restore budget caps in the funding bill.
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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., blocked a budget deal Thursday as the government ran out of funding at midnight. Paul sought a vote on an amendment to restore budget caps in the funding bill.

The Senate passed the measure 71-28.

The bill was equally delayed in the House after Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., made an impassioned case to her colleagues this week to vote against a bipartisan measure negotiated by her Senate counterpart, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Many Democrats support the budget deal, but were unhappy with the compromise because it doesn't tackle immigration — specifically addressing the plight of DREAMers, including the roughly 700,000 immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally after being brought to the country as children and who are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is set to expire on March 5.

In the end, however, Democrats declined to hold the spending bill hostage over immigration.

The House ultimately passed the measure on a bipartisan 240-186 vote just after 5:30 a.m. Only 73 Democrats voted for the bill; 67 Republicans voted against it.

The bill faced similar opposition in the House from fiscal conservatives who saw it as a broken promise to their base.

With a budget deal wrapped, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has already started the procedural hurdles to begin an open Senate debate next week on immigration. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., pledged on the House floor early Friday morning that he also intended to address immigration.

"My commitment to working together on an immigration measure that we can make law is a sincere commitment. We will solve this DACA problem," he said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jessica Taylor is a political reporter with NPR based in Washington, DC, covering elections and breaking news out of the White House and Congress. Her reporting can be heard and seen on a variety of NPR platforms, from on air to online. For more than a decade, she has reported on and analyzed House and Senate elections and is a contributing author to the 2020 edition of The Almanac of American Politics and is a senior contributor to The Cook Political Report.
Susan Davis is a congressional correspondent for NPR and a co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast. She has covered Congress, elections, and national politics since 2002 for publications including USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, National Journal and Roll Call. She appears regularly on television and radio outlets to discuss congressional and national politics, and she is a contributor on PBS's Washington Week with Robert Costa. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Philadelphia native.
Kelsey Snell is a Congressional correspondent for NPR. She has covered Congress since 2010 for outlets including The Washington Post, Politico and National Journal. She has covered elections and Congress with a reporting specialty in budget, tax and economic policy. She has a graduate degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and an undergraduate degree in political science from DePaul University in Chicago.
Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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