(Bloomberg) — U.S. House and Senate negotiators reached a bipartisan deal on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that largely tracks with Democratic priorities and rejects most of President Donald Trump’s wish list, including money to begin building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.
The compromise measure, released early Monday morning, would keep the government open through the end of September. Under House procedures, a vote could be held as early as Wednesday.
GOP leaders eager to focus on health care and tax overhauls bowed to Democratic demands to eliminate hundreds of policy restrictions aimed at curbing regulations, leaving the Trump administration with few victories.
“We have boosted resources for our defense needs without corresponding increases in non-defense spending,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement. He said the measure will make the U.S. “stronger and safer.”
The White House sought funding to begin building the border wall, as well as $18 billion in cuts to domestic agencies, and both demands were rebuffed. The spending deal includes money for Planned Parenthood, despite Republican demands to defund the group over its provision of abortions.
Trump will be able to point to a $15 billion boost for the Pentagon, although $2.5 billion of that money is contingent on the administration delivering a new plan to fight Islamic State. It also falls well short of the $30 billion he had originally requested.
The spending bill package would finish the job of appropriating agency spending seven months after the fiscal year began. The drawn-out fight could have been avoided in December had the incoming administration not instructed Congress to hold off on passing a bipartisan spending measure in order to give it a chance to weigh in.
Beyond the border wall, obstacles to an agreement included White House resistance to demands from Democrats to guarantee the payment of billions in the Affordable Care Act cost-sharing reduction subsidy program payments, which offset health care premiums for low-income people.
A stronger chance for a government shutdown could come in October. Trump has sought $54 billion in defense increases paired with $54 billion in domestic cuts. Republican leaders may be less willing to bow to Democrats without the excuse of being more than halfway through the fiscal year.
Congress and the president will also need to agree on a debt ceiling increase in the fall, and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney has said he wants to use the debt ceiling to impose new spending restraints.
Trump will get $1.5 billion for border security, but it can’t be used for the border wall or additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, according to one congressional aide. There are also no new restrictions on money going to so-called sanctuary cities that don’t fully enforce federal immigration laws.
“Reports that the package makes a major down payment towards the president’s security priorities are encouraging,” John Czwartacki, a spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement.
Republicans failed to get a number of conservative provisions in the bill, including one that would have blocked the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule limiting financial advice to retirees. Congressional Republicans say spending riders have become a less important tool for the party because the Trump administration is already intent on rolling back regulations they dislike and can take many actions on its own.
Overall, the compromise resembles more of an Obama administration-era budget than a Trump one. The National Institutes of Health, for example, would see a $2 billion boost, reflecting the popularity of medical research among lawmakers. The deal includes $990 million for famine aid, along with a $1.1 billion boost for disaster recovery funds.
“It is a solid bill that reflects our common values and that will help move our nation forward, and I urge its quick approval by the Congress and the White House,” House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey said in a statement early Monday.
He said the measure represents a $25 billion increase in national defense funding over current levels, when extra money former President Barack Obama secured in December is included. In addition, he noted provisions including an extension of miners’ health benefits and increases in health research and opioid addiction treatment and prevention.
The Environmental Protection Agency, which Trump has sought to shrink dramatically, would receive a 1% reduction of $81 million in funding and no staff cuts.
The deal also includes steady or slight increases in funding for agencies within the Department of Energy, such the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which would get a $17 million increase, and the Office of Science, which would get a boost of $42 million compared to fiscal 2016 funding levels, the aide said. The Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, which aims to fund experimental energy research and has been targeted for elimination by the Trump administration, would get a $15 million increase.
H-2B Visas, Truckers